Jump to content

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

MoIaF

"The Winged Wolf" A Bran Stark Re-read Project - Part 1: AGOT

Recommended Posts

Welcome to the Bran Stark Re-read Project!


Before we get started with our discussion, I'd like to take a moment to thank the amazing group of posters who have agreed be part of the team analyzing Bran's chapters.

  • BearQueen87
  • DarkSister1001
  • HelenaAndTheMachine
  • Illuminated by Fire
  • Kyoshi
  • MoIaF
  • Queen Alysanne
  • Stannis’s Lawyer

Now lets get down to business:

The aim of the re-read is to gain a better understanding of Bran's chapters and thus a better understanding of the magical of ASOIAF.

Each week one of us will be analyzing a chapter for discussion. We will be summarizing / analyzing all of Bran's 21 chapters as well as the series Prologue.

We want to have a clear discussion looking objectively at the text. This isn't a appreciation thread so we ask that posters stay focus on the discussion at hand.

As with most re-reads there are a few ground rules which we would appreciate you follow:

  • Discussion should focus on the chapters of the week (or previous chapters). You can reference future chapters if necessary for the discussion, but please stay on topic.
  • When discussion please refrain from making unsubstantiated comments or be disrespectful towards other posters. We are aiming to do an objective analysis and it would be greatly appreciated if we stay on topic and not argue with each other about our personal feeling about the character.
  • Your observations are very important to our discussion; if you find instances of foreshadowing, interesting symbolism, important parallels with other characters or other thoughts that can add to our discussion please share them with us. When ever possible quote from the text, it'll help enrich the discussion.

Below you will find the schedule for our discussion. We aim to stick to the schedule as closely as possible; however, we ask that you bear with us if there are any delays.

AGOT

Prologue November 2, 2014 Queen Alysanne

Bran I November 9, 2014 DarkSister1001

Bran II November 16, 2014 BearQueen87

Bran III November 23, 2014 Kyoshi

Bran IV November 30, 2014 MoIaF

Bran V December 7, 2014 Queen Alysanne

Bran VI December 14, 2014 BearQueen87

Bran VII January 4, 2015 MoIaF

ACOK

Bran I January 11, 2015 Queen Alysanne

Bran II January 18, 2015 MoIaF

Bran III January 25, 2015 Kyoshi

Bran IV February 1, 2015 Queen Alysanne

Bran V February 8, 2015 Illuminated by Fire

Bran VI February 15, 2015 BearQueen87

Bran VII February 22, 2015 Illuminated by Fire

ASOS

Bran I March 1, 2015 BearQueen87

Bran II March 8, 2015 Kyoshi

Bran III March 15, 2015 Illuminated by Fire

Sam III March 17, 2015 Queen Alysanne

Bran IV March 22, 2015 BearQueen87

ADWD

Prolog March 29, 2015 Dark Sister

Bran I April 5, 2015 Loic

Bran II April 12, 2015 BearQueen87

Bran III April 19, 2015 MoIaF

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A Game of Thrones Prologue: The Whitewalkers



The Other slid forward on silent feet. In its hand was a longsword like none that Will had ever seen.



Summary:

The chapter presents us with three members of the Night's Watch, Ser Royce, Will and Gared. They've been sent on a ranging in search of wildings, and Will reports back to Royce (The leader of this ranging) that the wildings they are searching for are dead. Royce however doesn't believe they could die like that and Gared offers the explanation that the cold may have been the one that killed them. Royce however still not finding this explanation worthwhile decides that they go there to make sure they are actually dead. After travelling north and reaching the destination Gared is left behind to take care of the horses while Will and Royce are the ones that go in search of them. On arriving there Will is shocked that the Wildings he saw dead earlier are no longer there and fear starts to catch up to him, Royce laughs and orders Will to climb up the tree to check whether he can see any signs of the Wildings. Whiles atop the tree it starts getting cold and Will notices white shadows, Royce begins to notice it too and calls for Will. Out of the woods the first whitewalker appears, Royce then duels the whitewalker, at this moment other whitewalkers appear, however they only watch the duel. After will is defeated by the whitewalker a signal is given and the others join to slaughter him.


After the night passes Will finally decides to get down the tree to check on the dead Royce, after picking a sword damaged by the Whitewalker's sword, he turns around to find Royce alive as a wight



Analysis

This analysis is going to focus only on the Whitewalkers, as most of the characters in this chapter die I believe it will be useful to spend our time on the whitewalkers rather than the human characters within this chapter. I'll also be including tidbits from Sam I ASOS as that is the only other whitewalker encounter within the series.


Whitewalkers

Description:


He could feel the sweet, sticky sap on his cheek. A shadow emerged from the dark of the wood. It stood in front of Royce. Tall, it was, and gaunt and hard as old bones, with flesh pale as milk. Its armor seemed to change color as it moved; here it was white as new-fallen snow, there black as shadow, everywhere dappled with the deep grey-green of the trees. The patterns ran like moonlight on water with every step it took.





In its hand was a longsword like none that Will had ever seen. No human metal had gone into the forging of that blade. It was alive with moonlight, translucent, a shard of crystal so thin that it seemed almost to vanish when seen edge-on. There was a faint blue shimmer to the thing, a ghost-light that played around its edges, and somehow Will knew it was sharper than any razor.



Will saw its eyes; blue, deeper and bluer than any human eyes, a blue that burned like ice.


From the quotes given above, the white walkers are described as having armour made of ice and also having a sword made of ice. The armour gives them the perfect camouflage as it melts into its surrounds just like ordinary ice. The sword also seems to be sharper and stronger than steel.



Magical Abilities

Besides GRRM's comment in an SSM that the Whitewalkers can do things with ice ordinary people can't, we don't see alot of what the Whitewalkers can do with magic. One thing we do find out is that they bring the cold with them.



He must have felt them, as Will felt them. There was nothing to see. “Answer me! Why is it so cold?” It was cold. Shivering, Will clung more tightly to his perch.




Actions to keep in mind

The actions of the white walkers is something that piqued my interest during this re-read. The first thing of interest is that when they found Royce they all didn't just kill him, only one dueled Royce as the others watched. Only after completely destroying Royce's sword did the others join in to slaughter him. I wonder if Royce was able to kill the whitewalker, what the others would do. Would they flee? Would they see Royce as powerful (Similar to how the Dothraki follow strength) or would they still attack him?


Another interesting thing to note was the Whitewalkers strange interest in the sword Royce was using.



The Other halted. Will saw its eyes; blue, deeper and bluer than any human eyes, a blue that burned like ice. They fixed on the longsword trembling on high, watched the moonlight running cold along the metal.


Considering we know later on that Sam kills one with dragonglass, this interest from the whitewalker might mean they know what their weakness is, so the Whitewalker may have probably been inspecting the sword to see if it was dragonglass that would kill him.




Language:

The Whitewalkers, seem to have their own language that the members of the Night's Watch do not understand. I'm wondering whether it is the Old Tongue, Gared may have been the one that would know if it was the Old tongue but he did not come along. It could also be the true tongue that the Children of the Forest speak.


Wights

We have our first encounter of the wights after Royce dies. The chapter doesn't going into detail as to how this process occurs, all we know is that Royce rose as a wight after he was killed by a Whitewalker. The most logical assumption is that the White walkers are the ones that did this as Royce has the same eye colour as the Whitewalker when he wakes up, though we don't know what process takes place for this to occur.



Conclusion

A Game of thrones begins with us seeing the whitewalkers for the first time. However despite this, there are more questions that arise after this encounter rather than definite answers. Are the whitewalkers the ultimate evil that need to be destroyed? If we were presented the same scenario but with dragons killing a human trying to tame it, would we call them evil? Are they just protecting their territory from invaders such as Royce and Will? Do they have a motive against man? Why do they bring people from dead as wights? Why are they appearing at this particular time?

These are questions that could take books to answer and I will admit I'm still trying to find answers to them, but one thing for sure we know is that, Winter is coming.


Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Nice job, Queen Alysanne


Language:
The Whitewalkers, seem to have their own language that the members of the Night's Watch do not understand. I'm wondering whether it is the Old Tongue, Gared may have been the one that would know if it was the Old tongue but he did not come along. It could also be the true tongue that the Children of the Forest speak.

he [brandon the Builder] was taken to a secret place to meet with thed, but could not at first understand their speech, which was described as sounding like the song of stones in a brook, or the wind through the leaves, or the rain upon water . . . But it seems clear that their speech originated, or drew inspiration from the sounds they heard every day.

Given this, the Others' language may have similar roots, with their speech drawing inspiration from the sounds they heard, such as the cracking of ice.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

And we're off! We're going to have fun :)







A Game of Thrones Prologue: The Whitewalkers



The Other slid forward on silent feet. In its hand was a longsword like none that Will had ever seen.





As usual, great job Queen Alysanne





Whitewalkers

Description:


He could feel the sweet, sticky sap on his cheek. A shadow emerged from the dark of the wood. It stood in front of Royce. Tall, it was, and gaunt and hard as old bones, with flesh pale as milk. Its armor seemed to change color as it moved; here it was white as new-fallen snow, there black as shadow, everywhere dappled with the deep grey-green of the trees. The patterns ran like moonlight on water with every step it took.



The armor changes color but it's interesting that it's not just any colors but rather the colors of the nature that surround it. White as snow; black as the shadows being cast and the grey-green of trees. Given the otherworldy quality of the Others, it's as if the armor is in tune (so to speak) with its surroundings.





Will saw its eyes; blue, deeper and bluer than any human eyes, a blue that burned like ice.




BURNS like ICE. Nice ASOIAF set up there. It is hinted at before with Gared and his "nothing burns likes the cold" speech. Ice and fire, two sides of the same coin. And of course that speaks to the first and last POV's of the book and what is born/seen in the world again in the prologue/final POV



Also, the blue eyes have always fascinated me. The color of the eyes is so alive whereas everything about the Other seems to be almost "dead"(even though I know GRRM has said they are not dead)--gaunt and tall, skeletal, pale as milk or even bone. But the eyes are deeply alive and see everything.



Given GRRM's love of fantasy/scifi I want to make reference to Frank Herbert's "Dune" and that the people of the desert, the Fremen, who's diet is rich in the spice/melange have bright blues eyes. They, too, are an "Other" people, living outside of "normal society." Though, in their case, their extreme living condition is the desert of Arrakis and not the icy wintery north of Westeros. Whether or not it means anything, I can't say, but I'm sure (very sure) GRRM is aware of all this fantasy that came before him, especially Herbert's work.





Magical Abilities

Besides GRRM's comment in an SSM that the Whitewalkers can do things with ice ordinary people can't, we don't see alot of what the Whitewalkers can do with magic. One thing we do find out is that they bring the cold with them.


He must have felt them, as Will felt them. There was nothing to see. “Answer me! Why is it so cold?” It was cold. Shivering, Will clung more tightly to his perch.



Do the Others bring the cold or does the cold bring the Others? Chicken v egg question. I know I've seen people argue both ways. In the prologue, Will makes notes that something cold and implacable that loved him not has been watching them. Something is different now than before. Royce asks Will if he has a chill and Will answers in the affirmative, but all of this is before we see the Others. But of course the Wall is weeping too and it hasn't been cold enough except for a few flurries. Things to ponder.





Actions to keep in mind

The actions of the white walkers is something that piqued my interest during this re-read. The first thing of interest is that when they found Royce they all didn't just kill him, only one dueled Royce as the others watched. Only after completely destroying Royce's sword did the others join in to slaughter him. I wonder if Royce was able to kill the whitewalker, what the others would do. Would they flee? Would they see Royce as powerful (Similar to how the Dothraki follow strength) or would they still attack him?



It's almost ritualistic: one man vs one man. Surely the Others could take on Royce and make this quick work by ganging up on him. But they don't. If Royce killed this Other, then one more would take it's place, but it is almost as if they observing protocol of fighting; they are even described as patient. Once Royce is done for, his sword destroyed, then they make quick work of it. Almost "make it end for his sake mentality."





Language:

The Whitewalkers, seem to have their own language that the members of the Night's Watch do not understand. I'm wondering whether it is the Old Tongue, Gared may have been the one that would know if it was the Old tongue but he did not come along. It could also be the true tongue that the Children of the Forest speak.



I think it's something much older than the Old Tongue.



I think it's whatever the Children taught Brandon Stark, or something similar. A language lost to time that is reflective of nature.



ETA: :ninja: by Fire Eater





Conclusion

A Game of thrones begins with us seeing the whitewalkers for the first time. However despite this, there are more questions that arise after this encounter rather than definite answers. Are the whitewalkers the ultimate evil that need to be destroyed? If we were presented the same scenario but with dragons killing a human trying to tame it, would we call them evil? Are they just protecting their territory from invaders such as Royce and Will? Do they have a motive against man? Why do they bring people from dead as wights? Why are they appearing at this particular time?

These are questions that could take books to answer and I will admit I'm still trying to find answers to them, but one thing for sure we know is that, Winter is coming.



The more time I spend on this board and the more times I re-read the series, the less certain I am about anything. But for right now, my overall impression is this: The WW's are not "evil" that need to be destroyed. They are, simply, another player in the game of thrones and whatever they want, it conflicts with the desires at large of what we know as Westeros. That's why, ultimately, it does becomes an us vs them mentality. My dearest hope is that we get someone (cough Bran cough) who can enlighten us as to what the Others are, what they want, their own history and myths and legends (probably about the "big bad humans"), and their endgames.


Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

BURNS like ICE. Nice ASOIAF set up there. It is hinted at before with Gared and his "nothing burns likes the cold" speech. Ice and fire, two sides of the same coin. And of course that speaks to the first and last POV's of the book and what is born/seen in the world again in the prologue/final POV

Agreed, I noticed that too. It seems to go against Melisandre's Manichean view. We see this again when Jojen says "If ice can burn than love and hate can mate. Mountain or marsh, it makes no matter. The land is one."

Conclusion
A Game of thrones begins with us seeing the whitewalkers for the first time. However despite this, there are more questions that arise after this encounter rather than definite answers. Are the whitewalkers the ultimate evil that need to be destroyed? If we were presented the same scenario but with dragons killing a human trying to tame it, would we call them evil? Are they just protecting their territory from invaders such as Royce and Will? Do they have a motive against man? Why do they bring people from dead as wights? Why are they appearing at this particular time?
These are questions that could take books to answer and I will admit I'm still trying to find answers to them, but one thing for sure we know is that, Winter is coming.

The more time I spend on this board and the more times I re-read the series, the less certain I am about anything. But for right now, my overall impression is this: The WW's are not "evil" that need to be destroyed. They are, simply, another player in the game of thrones and whatever they want, it conflicts with the desires at large of what we know as Westeros. That's why, ultimately, it does becomes an us vs them mentality. My dearest hope is that we get someone (cough Bran cough) who can enlighten us as to what the Others are, what they want, their own history and myths and legends (probably about the "big bad humans"), and their endgames.

Maybe the Others are like the Sithi in Memory, Sorrow and Throne, they are trying to retake lands that had originally been their domain? Like the other old races of the CotF and the giants, they could have had their territory overtaken by man. The Others don't exactly paint a positive picture when we see them in this scene, but we have seen throughout ASOIAF that men can be little different. I agree that they likely aren't the ultimate evil they are made out to be, especially since GRRM builds impressions just to overturn them.

I think we will learn more about the Others through Bran's POV given the CotF likely still remember and even more so the weirwoods.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Excellent analysis, Queen Alysanne!



Very astute observations. I hadn't noticed that the other Others seem to observe some kind of militaristic protocol. This adds to the idea that they likely have a goal. It also serves to worry me that for the majority of the books they are off-stage, we only seem them when they attack. Are these attacks planned? What is common between this scene and the scene in ASOS? What do they want?



Questions and questions.


Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A Game of Thrones Prologue: The Whitewalkers

The Other slid forward on silent feet. In its hand was a longsword like none that Will had ever seen.

Nice work, QA.

Whitewalkers

Description:

He could feel the sweet, sticky sap on his cheek. A shadow emerged from the dark of the wood. It stood in front of Royce. Tall, it was, and gaunt and hard as old bones, with flesh pale as milk. Its armor seemed to change color as it moved; here it was white as new-fallen snow, there black as shadow, everywhere dappled with the deep grey-green of the trees. The patterns ran like moonlight on water with every step it took.

In its hand was a longsword like none that Will had ever seen. No human metal had gone into the forging of that blade. It was alive with moonlight, translucent, a shard of crystal so thin that it seemed almost to vanish when seen edge-on. There was a faint blue shimmer to the thing, a ghost-light that played around its edges, and somehow Will knew it was sharper than any razor.

Will saw its eyes; blue, deeper and bluer than any human eyes, a blue that burned like ice.

From the quotes given above, the white walkers are described as having armour made of ice and also having a sword made of ice. The armour gives them the perfect camouflage as it melts into its surrounds just like ordinary ice. The sword also seems to be sharper and stronger than steel.

1. From Tommy Patterson:

Had many talks with George. He told me of the ice swords, and the reflective, camouflaging armor that picks up the images of the things around it like a clear, still pond.

A clear, still pond. Interesting wording, don't you think?

2.Two interesting quotes on Other swords and Other Ice from Samwell I ASOS:

The Other's sword gleamed with a faint blue glow. It moved toward Grenn, lightning quick, slashing. When the ice blue blade brushed the flames, a screech stabbed Sam's ears sharp as a needle. The head of the torch tumbled sideways to vanish beneath a deep drift of snow, the fire snuffed out at once.

its crystal sword twisted and spun and slipped between the iron rings of Paul's mail, through leather and wool and bone and flesh. It came out his back with a hissssssssssss and Sam heard Paul say, "Oh," as he lost the axe.

The sword is either very light, or Puddles is very strong or uses magic to wield the sword. Other Ice apparently does not melt when coming into contact with fire. Instead, there's a "a screech as sharp as a needle". And Other Ice is very sharp. But we knew that.

3. The Citadel Concordance: "The unnaturally blue eyes of wights come from an equally unnatural frost that covers them"

Other eyes are also blue and "burns like ice". Then do the unnaturally blue eyes of Others also come from an unnatural frost?

Magical Abilities

Besides GRRM's comment in an SSM that the Whitewalkers can do things with ice ordinary people can't, we don't see alot of what the Whitewalkers can do with magic. One thing we do find out is that they bring the cold with them.

He must have felt them, as Will felt them. There was nothing to see. “Answer me! Why is it so cold?” It was cold. Shivering, Will clung more tightly to his perch.

This makes it likely that Others bring the cold. Others don't approach when it suddenly turns cold, the Other's approach which causes extraordinary cold. Or anyways, that's what I think is more logical.

Actions to keep in mind

The actions of the white walkers is something that piqued my interest during this re-read. The first thing of interest is that when they found Royce they all didn't just kill him, only one dueled Royce as the others watched. Only after completely destroying Royce's sword did the others join in to slaughter him. I wonder if Royce was able to kill the whitewalker, what the others would do. Would they flee? Would they see Royce as powerful (Similar to how the Dothraki follow strength) or would they still attack him?

Another interesting thing to note was the Whitewalkers strange interest in the sword Royce was using.

The Other halted. Will saw its eyes; blue, deeper and bluer than any human eyes, a blue that burned like ice. They fixed on the longsword trembling on high, watched the moonlight running cold along the metal.

Considering we know later on that Sam kills one with dragonglass, this interest from the whitewalker might mean they know what their weakness is, so the Whitewalker may have probably been inspecting the sword to see if it was dragonglass that would kill him.

I like to think that the Other who dueled Royce was doing it was a juvenile trying to prove himself and the rest were his guardians. :cool4:

If Royce killed the Other (with obsidian), I would imagine that the Others would flee. They don't want to lose many Others; stories suggest that there weren't many Others and that they only led huge armies of wights, which means that a potential loss of two or three Others could be a major blow (assuming there's a limit to how many wights one Other can resurrect).

Why do the Others join in to kill Royce only after Royce is defeated?

Nice catch about the sword.

Language:

The Whitewalkers, seem to have their own language that the members of the Night's Watch do not understand. I'm wondering whether it is the Old Tongue, Gared may have been the one that would know if it was the Old tongue but he did not come along. It could also be the true tongue that the Children of the Forest speak.

As has been said, I believe it is a variant of the True Tongue, or their own language.

Wights

We have our first encounter of the wights after Royce dies. The chapter doesn't going into detail as to how this process occurs, all we know is that Royce rose as a wight after he was killed by a Whitewalker. The most logical assumption is that the White walkers are the ones that did this as Royce has the same eye colour as the Whitewalker when he wakes up, though we don't know what process takes place for this to occur.

The eyes of wights are coated in unnatural blue frost, but apparently only the eyes. Strange, that.

Conclusion

A Game of thrones begins with us seeing the whitewalkers for the first time. However despite this, there are more questions that arise after this encounter rather than definite answers. Are the whitewalkers the ultimate evil that need to be destroyed? If we were presented the same scenario but with dragons killing a human trying to tame it, would we call them evil? Are they just protecting their territory from invaders such as Royce and Will? Do they have a motive against man? Why do they bring people from dead as wights? Why are they appearing at this particular time?

These are questions that could take books to answer and I will admit I'm still trying to find answers to them, but one thing for sure we know is that, Winter is coming.

None of these are answerable :bawl:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A Game of Thrones Prologue: The Whitewalkers

The Other slid forward on silent feet. In its hand was a longsword like none that Will had ever seen.

Summary:
The chapter presents us with three members of the Night's Watch, Ser Royce, Will and Gared. They've been sent on a ranging in search of wildings, and Will reports back to Royce (The leader of this ranging) that the wildings they are searching for are dead. Royce however doesn't believe they could die like that and Gared offers the explanation that the cold may have been the one that killed them. Royce however still not finding this explanation worthwhile decides that they go there to make sure they are actually dead. After travelling north and reaching the destination Gared is left behind to take care of the horses while Will and Royce are the ones that go in search of them. On arriving there Will is shocked that the Wildings he saw dead earlier are no longer there and fear starts to catch up to him, Royce laughs and orders Will to climb up the tree to check whether he can see any signs of the Wildings. Whiles atop the tree it starts getting cold and Will notices white shadows, Royce begins to notice it too and calls for Will. Out of the woods the first whitewalker appears, Royce then duels the whitewalker, at this moment other whitewalkers appear, however they only watch the duel. After will is defeated by the whitewalker a signal is given and the others join to slaughter him.
After the night passes Will finally decides to get down the tree to check on the dead Royce, after picking a sword damaged by the Whitewalker's sword, he turns around to find Royce alive as a wight

Excellent, thanks for getting us started! :thumbsup:

Magical Abilities
Besides GRRM's comment in an SSM that the Whitewalkers can do things with ice ordinary people can't, we don't see alot of what the Whitewalkers can do with magic. One thing we do find out is that they bring the cold with them.
He must have felt them, as Will felt them. There was nothing to see. “Answer me! Why is it so cold?” It was cold. Shivering, Will clung more tightly to his perch.

I think they bring the old with them, because it's part of them. As we have seen throughout the story, the approach of the Others towards the kingdom is about to bring a winter light none other (since the first LN) to the Planetos. There was an interesting quote from Gared:

“I saw men freeze last winter, and the one before, when I was half a boy. Everyone talks about snows forty foot deep, and how the ice wind comes howling out of the north, but the real enemy is the cold."

Actions to keep in mind
The actions of the white walkers is something that piqued my interest during this re-read. The first thing of interest is that when they found Royce they all didn't just kill him, only one dueled Royce as the others watched. Only after completely destroying Royce's sword did the others join in to slaughter him. I wonder if Royce was able to kill the whitewalker, what the others would do. Would they flee? Would they see Royce as powerful (Similar to how the Dothraki follow strength) or would they still attack him?
Another interesting thing to note was the Whitewalkers strange interest in the sword Royce was using.
The Other halted. Will saw its eyes; blue, deeper and bluer than any human eyes, a blue that burned like ice. They fixed on the longsword trembling on high, watched the moonlight running cold along the metal.
Considering we know later on that Sam kills one with dragonglass, this interest from the whitewalker might mean they know what their weakness is, so the Whitewalker may have probably been inspecting the sword to see if it was dragonglass that would kill him.

To me, they were toying with Waymar, it was a game to them. They must understand the rules of knighthood and decided to play by his rules for fun. Throughout the fight we see Will note:

'The Other said something in a language that Will did not know; his voice was like the cracking of ice on a winter lake, and the words were mocking."

and later when Waymar has fallen to his knees after his sword was destroyed:

"The watchers moved forward together, as if some signal had been given . Swords rose and fell, all in a deathly silence. It was cold butchery. The pale blades sliced through ringmail as if it were silk."

Conclusion
A Game of thrones begins with us seeing the whitewalkers for the first time. However despite this, there are more questions that arise after this encounter rather than definite answers. Are the whitewalkers the ultimate evil that need to be destroyed? If we were presented the same scenario but with dragons killing a human trying to tame it, would we call them evil? Are they just protecting their territory from invaders such as Royce and Will? Do they have a motive against man? Why do they bring people from dead as wights? Why are they appearing at this particular time?
These are questions that could take books to answer and I will admit I'm still trying to find answers to them, but one thing for sure we know is that, Winter is coming.

You and I have discussed this many times and we're in a bit of a disagreement I do think their evil but they're a symptom of perhaps something greater.

The way I see them is a beings that have no regard for human life, some can say that they are fighting for their territory, but their about to cross the Wall and I'm sure they're going to butcher anyone who get's in their way. Whatever happened thousands of years ago, they lost that territory and fighting and killing for it now to regain it doesn't make their actions justifiable, in my opinion.

I also think that we should consider that in many ways the Others are slavers, they are slavers of the dead. Not only to they kill humans but they then enslave them to do their bidding, I'm an atheist and don't really believe in the more spiritual stuff but in this world that kind of realm might exist and I would imagine that the souls of those who are turned into Wights have been damned. Their bodies used to murder woman, men and children alike.

The difference I see here with say dragons, is that unlike the others, the dragons aren't sentient beings. Whatever "evils" dragons can inflict on human (I'm not talking about hunting) is perpetuated by the humans who command them. The Others are very much aware of their actions, it seems to me that they have a purpose.

And we're off! We're going to have fun :)

BURNS like ICE. Nice ASOIAF set up there. It is hinted at before with Gared and his "nothing burns likes the cold" speech. Ice and fire, two sides of the same coin. And of course that speaks to the first and last POV's of the book and what is born/seen in the world again in the prologue/final POV

I noticed that too, a very nice juxtaposition with the final chapter in the book.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You and I have discussed this many times and we're in a bit of a disagreement I do think their evil but they're a symptom of perhaps something greater.

The way I see them is a beings that have no regard for human life, some can say that they are fighting for their territory, but their about to cross the Wall and I'm sure they're going to butcher anyone who get's in their way. Whatever happened thousands of years ago, they lost that territory and fighting and killing for it now to regain it doesn't make their actions justifiable, in my opinion.

I think they are more grey than evil, as bearqueen said just another player of the game. Their actions are no different than wildings, who are ready to kill people to get past the wall, however later on we find out there is something more to these wildings. I'm unsure whether their motive is to conquer westeros but if that is their goal, does that make them different from any claimant of the IT? All the claimants of the IT are ready to kill their enemies in order achieve their goal to get Westeros. And we also have the actions of groups like the Dothraki who pillage and rape but that doesn't mean all the Dothraki are evil or can't be changed.

With GRRM challenging the medieval view of "collective guilt" I am very iffy that he would present a group of people or race as completely bad.

After GRRM stated in an interview that he doesn't like "black" villains I think we're meant to challenge the idea of the Whitewalkers being the evil that must be destroyed. For all we know there may be other factions that aren't warriors, like the ones presented here.

One thing I'll agree on is that bringing the dead back to like is wrong.

Nice job, Queen Alysanne

he [brandon the Builder] was taken to a secret place to meet with the, but could not at first understand their speech, which was described as sounding like the song of stones in a brook, or the wind through the leaves, or the rain upon water . . . But it seems clear that their speech originated, or drew inspiration from the sounds they heard every day.

Given, this the Others' language may have similar roots, with their speech drawing inspiration from the sounds they heard, such as the cracking of ice.

Great catch I guess that means it is the same as the true tongue of the CotF

ETA:Thanks for the replies

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think they are more grey than evil, as bearqueen said just another player of the game. Their actions are no different than wildings, who are ready to kill people to get past the wall, however later on we find out there is something more to these wildings. I'm unsure whether their motive is to conquer westeros but if that is their goal, does that make them different from any claimant of the IT? All the claimants of the IT are ready to kill their enemies in order achieve their goal to get Westeros. And we also have the actions of groups like the Dothraki who pillage and rape but that doesn't mean all the Dothraki are evil or can't be changed.

With GRRM challenging the medieval view of "collective guilt" I am very iffy that he would present a group of people or race as completely bad.

After GRRM stated in an interview that he doesn't like "black" villains I think we're meant to challenge the idea of the Whitewalkers being the evil that must be destroyed. For all we know there may be other factions that aren't warriors, like the ones presented here.

One thing I'll agree on is that bringing the dead back to like is wrong.

Well, I think it's a different thing to equate the fights of humans for territory, power ,etc to that of a group of beings whose sole purpose at this point is the destruction of humanity. GRRM is not a pacifist , he just believes that there are just wars and some that are not. For example he said he didn't approve of Vietnam, however, he would have fought in WWII.

In the case of the Wildings their fight is for survival, however, once they found themselves safe they made a pact and stopped killing. Their is nuance in their fight, I'm not so sure we have shown there is any nuance in the fight the Others are bringing. And I'll go back to what I said earlier, not only are they killing humans but their are then reanimating them and using them as their tools. As for GRRM's views on good vs. evil, I believes he's primarily referring to humans when he makes these statements, specifically POV's in the series:

"With regard to characterization and point of view, GRRM said that for any character who is a POV character he has to find something that he and readers can sympathize with even if the character in question does reprehensible things. He said there is always something he can find, or if not then it just won’t be a POV character. Gregor Clegane, for example, could never be a POV character, but Jaime Lannister can be despite his bad actions, because there’s more to Jaime than that."

And here is the reference to human characters come in:

Question: It seems as if the introduction of viewpoint chapters for the “villains” are intended to humanize them, or at least make them somewhat sympathetic. That seems to have not been the case with the recent Circe [sic] chapters where we learn that her actions weren’t driven by her resentment over being a woman in a man’s game, but rather over fear of a prophecy. To me it seemed like you were letting us into her head only to make her less likeable. What was your expectation for her chapters and how do you feel that your approach to her character differed from the way you’ve treated the more redemptive POVs of Jaime and Tyrion?

GRRM: I don’t concern myself over whether my characters are “likeable” or “sympathetic.” (I had my fill of that in television). My interest is in trying to make them real and human. If I can create a fully-fleshed three-dimensional character, some of my readers will like him/ her, or some won’t, and that’s fine with me. That’s the way real people react to real people in the real world, after all. Look at the range of opinions we get on politicans and movie stars. If EVERYONE likes a certain character, or hates him, that probably means he’s made of cardboard. So I will let my readers decide who they like, admire, hate, pity, sympathize with, etc. The fact that characters like Sansa, Catelyn, Jaime, and Theon provoke such a wide range of reactions suggests to me that I have achieved my goal in making them human.

We can't really use this then to measure the Others (I don't believe), because they aren't human. GRRM refers to them as:

“The Others are not dead. They are strange, beautiful… think, oh… the Sidhe made of ice, something like that… a different sort of life… inhuman, elegant, dangerous.”

These aren't human beings and have little regard for human life. They may just be a symptom of something greater, perhaps even something that was man-made, but that does not make them good or even gray, IMHO.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, I think it's a different thing to equate the fights of humans for territory, power ,etc to that of a group of beings whose sole purpose at this point is the destruction of humanity. GRRM is not a pacifist , he just believes that there are just wars and some that are not. For example he said he didn't approve of Vietnam, however, he would have fought in WWII.

Is that the sole purpose of the Others, though? Or is that what we see because we're looking through the uninformed and subjective eyes of the humans preparing to fight them? We can look at this prologue in one of two ways. Either the Others are mercilessly killing Wildlings and then Men of the Night's Watch for no reason other than they are killing machines who want to destroy everything not "Other" OR they killed the Wildlings and the Men of the Night's Watch for crossing a boundary, for breaking an oath, or something like that. And if it's the latter, it's the same reason humans are killing each other all over Planetos.

Trying to reclaim territory lost thousands of years ago isn't a good excuse, I agree, but if that is there reason for all this (and that's only speculation at this stage of the game--no pun intended) it doesn't make them anymore evil than any other man in Westeros looking to extend his influence and wealth and power.

My big questions about the Others (and now that I've got the World Book smacking around my head) are, did they bring the Chaos of the Long Night or did the Chaos the Long Night Bring them? In his last for instance, they are just taking advantage of an off kilter world, much like Varys and Littlefinger are playing their own chaotic game.

What caused the Others to emerge again after so long? The dragons aren't born back into the world until the end of Game with Dany and while I know that Dany sorta makes up that magic as she goes along, was it helped by the reappearance of the Others? Would the hatching of the 3 dragons have been as successful if the world wasn't already off balance with the Others---but then we're back to, but what caused them (The Others) to emerge?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Is that the sole purpose of the Others, though? Or is that what we see because we're looking through the uninformed and subjective eyes of the humans preparing to fight them? We can look at this prologue in one of two ways. Either the Others are mercilessly killing Wildlings and then Men of the Night's Watch for no reason other than they are killing machines who want to destroy everything not "Other" OR they killed the Wildlings and the Men of the Night's Watch for crossing a boundary, for breaking an oath, or something like that. And if it's the latter, it's the same reason humans are killing each other all over Planetos.

Trying to reclaim territory lost thousands of years ago isn't a good excuse, I agree, but if that is there reason for all this (and that's only speculation at this stage of the game--no pun intended) it doesn't make them anymore evil than any other man in Westeros looking to extend his influence and wealth and power.

My big questions about the Others (and now that I've got the World Book smacking around my head) are, did they bring the Chaos of the Long Night or did the Chaos the Long Night Bring them? In his last for instance, they are just taking advantage of an off kilter world, much like Varys and Littlefinger are playing their own chaotic game.

What caused the Others to emerge again after so long? The dragons aren't born back into the world until the end of Game with Dany and while I know that Dany sorta makes up that magic as she goes along, was it helped by the reappearance of the Others? Would the hatching of the 3 dragons have been as successful if the world wasn't already off balance with the Others---but then we're back to, but what caused them (The Others) to emerge?

I'll admit, I have not clue about their motivations and to them they might seem like just motivations. And in world and out, I suppose, we have justified war to expand as a country or to fight for what we believe in, so there is that.

However, we need to consider that even if we are seeing them through the perspective of humans, we do know what they are doing to humans after they kill them, all humans, man, woman and children. They use them as tools to kill even more humans. This isn't from the point of view of anyone, this is what's actually happening.

It's an enslavement of the dead and I personally can't see anything gray about that, to me that's dark, as dark as the enslavement of the slaves of Slaver's Bay. Worst actually, because at least the slaves of SB retain their humanity even if it's depressed by the Master, while the Others steal everything that was ever remotely human from a person. That's as perverse as it gets, IMO.

Now, I can be completely wrong about this (wouldn't be the first time) but that's how I see them.

ETA: For clarity and concession.

ETA: Addendum

I just wanted to clarify how I see the Others within the story. I don't believe that the story is about good vs. evil and I'm sorry if that's what it looked like I was arguing, I think I used the wrong wording. A blogger I read described the conflict in ASOIAF as "life (energy) vs. death (entropy)" and I agree with her views. That is the Others in my mind are death (entropy) but so are some of the human characters we are introduced to who use death and destruction for their own malicious ans selfish purposes. And I think that's the sad part, that as inhuman as the Others are there are living beings who can be just as inhuman.

This is why I don't consider the dragons as "evil" they are just animals who are turned to do evil things by humans themselves. So, in reality it is the humans who are the "evil" ones, not the animals themselves.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Excellent post!



Will watched the group of wildings for some time before coming to the conclusion that they were dead. When Royce turned it seemed instant so it seems to be a quick change. Were the wildings already wights sitting still just to bait Will and the group? Playing with them the way they seemed to toy with Royce.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

However, we need to consider that even if we are seeing them through the perspective of humans, we do know what they are doing to humans after they kill them, all humans, man, woman and children. They use them as tools to kill even more humans. This isn't from the point of view of anyone, this is what's actually happening.

It's an enslavement of the dead and I personally can't see anything gray about that, to me that's dark, as dark as the enslavement of the slaves of Slaver's Bay. Worst actually, because at least the slaves of SB retain their humanity even if it's depressed by the Master, while the Others steal everything that was ever remotely human from a person. That's as perverse as it gets, IMO.

I agree that Necromancy is a bad art, but my main point isn't about Necromancy being good. My main point is that we know very little about the whitewalkers to come to a conclusion that defeating them is the solution to the series. Within five books we still don't know what their aim is, we don't even know if their aim is actually to erase humanity. And there could be other factions amongst them that aren't in opposition to mankind. Or other factions that don't perform necromancy

I'm not trying to make the others look good but given the nature of this series I believe it is important to keep an open mind on what is being presented at first hand. For instance Dany's journey to the HOTU, the first Undying she met were wizards in speckled hats and beautiful people, this would have been the case in most series when someone journeys somewhere for knowledge however the Undying are actually dead people that have lived for years and aren't that beautiful and end up trying to take her life. We also have Bran and the assumption that the 3 eyed crow is wizard that will help him but in reality its a man completely dead in a tree grasping on to life. I just feel it's important to keep an open mind in regards to the whitewalkers despite how the author has presented them. Especially since the way they are presented is the exact same trope of an evil force in the North which the author has also expressed his dislike for.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'll admit, I have not clue about their motivations and to them they might seem like just motivations. And in world and out, I suppose, we have justified war to expand as a country or to fight for what we believe in, so there is that.

However, we need to consider that even if we are seeing them through the perspective of humans, we do know what they are doing to humans after they kill them, all humans, man, woman and children. They use them as tools to kill even more humans. This isn't from the point of view of anyone, this is what's actually happening.

It's an enslavement of the dead and I personally can't see anything gray about that, to me that's dark, as dark as the enslavement of the slaves of Slaver's Bay. Worst actually, because at least the slaves of SB retain their humanity even if it's depressed by the Master, while the Others steal everything that was ever remotely human from a person. That's as perverse as it gets, IMO.

Now, I can be completely wrong about this (wouldn't be the first time) but that's how I see them.

I agree that necromancy is bad (bad bad bad!) and I like your description of them being slavers of the dead. In the end, it is going to come down to Westeros (Planteos) vs Others but I guess my point, as you pick up in your Addendum, is that this doesn't mean good vs evil. Rather both sides are pretty gruesome and terrible. We've so little of the Others and what they do, but we've had plenty of examples of human horror for petty and stupid reasons.

I think the main drive of ASOIAF in regards to humas vs others isn't some cosmic battle in which there is a clear good and a clear evil but it's about that restoration of balance--we talked about balance quite a bit in Dany Re-Read. It's not about killing all the Others because they are black hats but it's about putting the world back in balance.

This is why I don't consider the dragons as "evil" they are just animals who are turned to do evil things by humans themselves. So, in reality it is the humans who are the "evil" ones, not the animals themselves.

I agree with this. The dragon itself is not evil, they are a tool used by people. But in the wrong hands, they are a destructive force. The Others don't appear to be "in anyone's hands"--unless the Night King is sitting in the Lands of Always Winter calling the shots (which, I won't lie, I tend to believe...) but even then, the Others seem to have some independent thought and action. So they aren't just beasts of burden--those are the weights.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Since this chapter is on the Whitewalkers, I'm going to throw it out there. IS others vs Humans really going to solve the issue in the story such as the seasons etc.? During the last Long Night Humans already defeated the others, yet they still came back, war might not be the only solution to the balance.


Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Since this chapter is on the Whitewalkers, I'm going to throw it out there. IS others vs Humans really going to solve the issue in the story such as the seasons etc.? During the last Long Night Humans already defeated the others, yet they still came back, war might not be the only solution to the balance.

Solve the issue? No. Is it going to happen? In my view yes because both sides either can't or won't see each other complexly. Human mindset is that the Others are evil and bringing Winter and that they will cause the Long Night. There's nothing else to them from Human Perspective. The the Others, we don't know for sure, but I assume that they have something similar in regards to the humans: evil men who took their land, cast them out of their home, banished them to the land of always winter, broke pacts, killed their families, ect ect ect.

Neither side has the whole picture. Fighting and war don't solve anything. Peace is a "reset" button because eventually those conflicts come back in new ways with new players. The Game doesn't end just by signing a peace agreement.

Whatever needs to be done isn't just smashing the Others to smithereens because I'm not sure that's actually restoring balance so much as destroying one of the elements (and even then does killing the Others stop winter?? Doesn't seem so. Winter comes with or without the Others). There's something else that needs to happen. I have no idea what.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Since this chapter is on the Whitewalkers, I'm going to throw it out there. IS others vs Humans really going to solve the issue in the story such as the seasons etc.? During the last Long Night Humans already defeated the others, yet they still came back, war might not be the only solution to the balance.

Hmmm...

I think in order to achieve balance they will have to be destroyed, but also perhaps the dragons and other magical elements that might be consider good as well. I think in the end what might happen is that we'll have to see an end to all the magic, which might mean the demise of more than one of our favorite characters. People can use magic for both good and evil - life and death but there is no one to police them and so it get's out of hand, it's misuse becomes unbalanced and thus the world around them becomes unbalance. It's power and the misuse of it.

I believe sacrifices will have to be made, personal sacrifices. And perhaps that's what when wrong the last time the Long Night came, they weren't able to make the sacrifices necessary to end it and only managed to push it away. And now the past is coming back to haunt them, literally.

GRRM said that one of the main themes of the series is the human heart in conflict with itself, and I think we'll see many of our POV's conflicted over what they'll need to do in the end.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The the Others, we don't know for sure, but I assume that they have something similar in regards to the humans: evil men who took their land, cast them out of their home, banished them to the land of always winter, broke pacts, killed their families, ect ect ect.

How differently would we look at Planetos if we had a WW POV?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.

×