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

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2. Well, the Wildings are a weird butch. They are for the most part a bunch of know-it-alls who yeah know some stuff but don't know about a lot of other stuff, stuff that is also important. As you can see I'm not a fan of the Wildings know-it-all attitude, I find it highly annoying.

I was thinking more about this today but as a Wildling, and as someone who knows a lot of the mythic "history" of Westeros, why doesn't Osha recognize the name "Kings of Winter" which were Stark-First Men. Shouldn't the Wildling's know the Kings of Winter? Especially if Wildling's are just First Men themselves? Just sorta tossing that out there as Wildling/First Men/Stark interactions and what that might mean for Bran. Technically Bran is the King of Winter/KitN after Robb dies without an heir.

Unless..is there a difference between the Kings of Winter and the Kings in the North?

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Very good analysis. I do not think I have much to add here, especially after the suggestions already posted. This chapter has large parts of information regarding the CotF, the first men and the Kings of Winter. I like the suggestion of Symeon Star-Eyes as some kind of wight or Other, who has become romanticised over the times as some kind of knight.



And above all there was one thought there was going through my head after reading the analysis and the chapter again:


A Song of Ice and Fire - A world where dreams are crushed and nightmares come true.


Really, after recalling the green dreams we have in this series, I think 'green nightmares' would be a more apt name. Maybe I will have some more suggestions later.


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Nicely done MoIaF!




AGOT - Bran VII


“In the dream I flew down with the crow, but I can’t do that when I’m awake”






I like how you separated a Child's Dream from a Child's Nightmare. The comparison of Jon's description with the CotF and Hodor not being a mule are also great catches.



Great stuff coming from all around, as usual.



I found it interesting too that Osha doesn't know the Starks as Kings of Winter and Luwin only discusses the KitN. Luwin doesn't correct her but doesn't correct Bran either. I do expect the wildlings to know about the historical Starks like Ygritte and Mance seem to. Osha has so much knowledge that it is surprising...or is it telling? :)



It seems odd that the CotF seem to posses enough power to shatter land masses and raise waters but aren't able to fight back the invaders. Unless after the big magic moves they decided to not push it further. Maybe they resolved that destroying the land they love is no longer a means to an end and that they would rather disappear. If that's the case, it's pretty selfless.



BearQueen, I'm all over those crypts and hot springs. And now there's dragonglass in WF being shown to us. We know the CotF used dragonglass and gifted obsidian daggers to the NW (IIRC). We're told that obsidian is in the bowels of Dragonstone but no where else has it been found for us to see...except at WF and north of the Wall. I'm not convinced this is a coincidence and I have to invoke Occam's Razor....there were/(are) dragons up north. The further and further we go the closer we get to putting our little Bran on dragonback, I think.




Sentimental Ned Stark. (I miss him)


Also, there is a very logical reason for why Brandon was given a statue. We don't know who died first Rickard or Brandon, but if Rickard died first (burning) then for however short a time, Brandon was Lord of Winterfell.


Now...Lyanna is a totally different story. And the reason for her statue from Ned is far more, shall we say, controversial.



Because she married a prince and was his Queen.




OMG, I love this SO much! Thus far all I had seen or come up with for the reason of their tombs was 1) Ned loved them so and 2) He built Brandon's to hide the controversial reasoning of building Lyanna's (to hide artifacts proving R+L=J). This makes perfect sense and still keeps with the R+L=J and still gives him a great hiding place.



And since this is the place where we learn so much of the Stark history, it got me thinking about something I'd like to bring up. We hear about other Brandon Starks throughout the series. On the surface it seems like a sentimental tradition to honor a family member by naming a child after another person. I looked up Brandon to see what it could mean; this is GRRM after all. In Irish the name means little raven and brave. Another Irish variant of it, Brendan, means prince. The Anglo-Saxon version means sword. I don’t think that’s a coincidence. I can’t help but wonder if all the Brandon Starks have something more than their name in common. Another Brandon Stark was called Ice Eyes. This made me think of Seymon Star Eyes. I couldn't find a further discussion of Ice Eyes and nothing on wiki (I know, I know) says how he got the moniker. Strange.



ETA:




In the light of the guttering torch, shadow wolves twenty feet tall fought on the wall and roof.



Beautiful imagery but could this also be foreshadowing conflict between Bran/Summer and Rickon/Shaggydog?



This is also the first time Bran gives Luwin a command-ish. After being attacked by Shaggydog Luwin insists that Shaggydog must be chained or...Bran knows what the "or" is but doesn't vocalize it and calmly responds that they'll wait together, with their wolves. Luwin tries to sway him and Osha steps in to remind Luwin that Bran is the Lord of WF now.


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And since this is the place where we learn so much of the Stark history, it got me thinking about something I'd like to bring up. We hear about other Brandon Starks throughout the series. On the surface it seems like a sentimental tradition to honor a family member by naming a child after another person. I looked up Brandon to see what it could mean; this is GRRM after all. In Irish the name means little raven and brave. Another Irish variant of it, Brendan, means prince. The Anglo-Saxon version means sword. I don’t think that’s a coincidence. I can’t help but wonder if all the Brandon Starks have something more than their name in common. Another Brandon Stark was called Ice Eyes. This made me think of Seymon Star Eyes. I couldn't find a further discussion of Ice Eyes and nothing on wiki (I know, I know) says how he got the moniker. Strange.

I definitely agree that GRRM has been careful about naming our Bran. There are a lot of Brandon Starks. (from the Wiki)

  • Bran the Builder, the legendary first King of Winter and builder of Winterfell and the Wall

Brandon Stark (son of Bran the Builder), who might have designed the Hightower

Brandon Stark (Breaker), a king known as Brandon the Breaker who defeated the Night's King

Brandon Stark (Shipwright), a king known as Brandon the Shipwright lost sailing the Sunset Sea

Brandon Stark (Burner), a king known as Brandon the Burner who burned the northern ships

Brandon Stark (Ice Eyes), a king known as Brandon Ice Eyes who defeated slavers

Brandon Stark (Bad), a king known as Brandon the Bad

Brandon Stark (son of Bennard), second son of Bennard Stark

Brandon Stark (son of Cregan), fifth son of Cregan Stark, a Lord of Winterfell

Brandon Stark (the daughterless), a Lord of Winterfell in the legend of Bael the Bard

Brandon Stark (son of Willam), a child that Old Nan came to Winterfell to nurse after his mother died birthing him

Brandon Stark (son of Artos), a twin son of Artos the Implacable

Brandon Stark, the eldest son of Lord Rickard Stark who was killed by King Aerys II

Brandon "Bran" Stark,

Common themes, anyone?

A mix of good and bad Brandon's. The earliest ones are all very legendary and it's interesting that you have a Brandon connected to the Hightower, especially post World Book where the The Hightower and the Reach in general was way more fascinating than I imagined. You've even got some very early fertility god running around who is either a early day Jolly Green Giant or a bloodthirsty savage. Y'know..like you do. Apparently Bran the Builder built a lot. Like...a lot a lot. And the Hightower seems like it has some sort of weird proto-Valyrian-esque stone. What could that mean?! Did Brandon the Builder have access to dragons? Again, Syemon Star-Eyes killing a dragon during the age of heroes, long before Aegon came over.

Also, just to point out but not listed is Brandon SNOW--Torrhen Stark's (the King who Knelt) bastard brother who thought he had figured out a way to kill Aegon's dragons with weirwood arrows.

We're pretty sure that Bran the Builder is also the Last Hero and I personally am suspicious of the NK's and BtB being one and the same.

If there is one theme it is perhaps that Bran could go either way, depending on his influences, mentors and own idea of right and wrong.

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Another thing, Bran says that Brandon, his uncle, was beheaded by the Mad King. The truth is that Brandon was put in a device to choke him while he watched his father, Rickard, cook in his armor during his "trial by combat". Dark and twisty, I know, but do we know if Brandon's head was actually removed through this type of torture or removed after? IDK if Bran was regurgitating what he was told, remembered wrong or if it was an error. I could see them sparing Bran the details, but he did know about the "rape" of Lyanna by Rhaeger.


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I definitely agree that GRRM has been careful about naming our Bran. There are a lot of Brandon Starks. (from the Wiki)

  • Bran the Builder, the legendary first King of Winter and builder of Winterfell and the Wall

Brandon Stark (son of Bran the Builder), who might have designed the Hightower

Brandon Stark (Breaker), a king known as Brandon the Breaker who defeated the Night's King

Brandon Stark (Shipwright), a king known as Brandon the Shipwright lost sailing the Sunset Sea

Brandon Stark (Burner), a king known as Brandon the Burner who burned the northern ships

Brandon Stark (Ice Eyes), a king known as Brandon Ice Eyes who defeated slavers

Brandon Stark (Bad), a king known as Brandon the Bad

Brandon Stark (son of Bennard), second son of Bennard Stark

Brandon Stark (son of Cregan), fifth son of Cregan Stark, a Lord of Winterfell

Brandon Stark (the daughterless), a Lord of Winterfell in the legend of Bael the Bard

Brandon Stark (son of Willam), a child that Old Nan came to Winterfell to nurse after his mother died birthing him

Brandon Stark (son of Artos), a twin son of Artos the Implacable

Brandon Stark, the eldest son of Lord Rickard Stark who was killed by King Aerys II

Brandon "Bran" Stark,

Common themes, anyone?

A mix of good and bad Brandon's. The earliest ones are all very legendary and it's interesting that you have a Brandon connected to the Hightower, especially post World Book where the The Hightower and the Reach in general was way more fascinating than I imagined. You've even got some very early fertility god running around who is either a early day Jolly Green Giant or a bloodthirsty savage. Y'know..like you do. Apparently Bran the Builder built a lot. Like...a lot a lot. And the Hightower seems like it has some sort of weird proto-Valyrian-esque stone. What could that mean?! Did Brandon the Builder have access to dragons? Again, Syemon Star-Eyes killing a dragon during the age of heroes, long before Aegon came over.

Also, just to point out but not listed is Brandon SNOW--Torrhen Stark's (the King who Knelt) bastard brother who thought he had figured out a way to kill Aegon's dragons with weirwood arrows.

We're pretty sure that Bran the Builder is also the Last Hero and I personally am suspicious of the NK's and BtB being one and the same.

If there is one theme it is perhaps that Bran could go either way, depending on his influences, mentors and own idea of right and wrong.

I started to put one together too but got lost in it. Great minds think alike! Most interesting to me is Brandon the Bad. How in the world do you get a name like that without anyone telling us how?! I haven't finished my Stark section of WoIaF yet though. I had it in digital version but wanted to wait til Santa brought me the lovely illustrated version.

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Another thing, Bran says that Brandon, his uncle, was beheaded by the Mad King. The truth is that Brandon was put in a device to choke him while he watched his father, Rickard, cook in his armor during his "trial by combat". Dark and twisty, I know, but do we know if Brandon's head was actually removed through this type of torture or removed after? IDK if Bran was regurgitating what he was told, remembered wrong or if it was an error. I could see them sparing Bran the details, but he did know about the "rape" of Lyanna by Rhaeger.

I don't think we know for sure about Brandon Starks head, but I do think that Bran is just repeating what he has heard over the years climbing over WF and hearing bits of gossip. We know, for instance, that Cat didn't even know what happened to Rickard and Brandon until Jaime told her in ACOK. Suggests that very few people know what really happened to Lord Stark and his heir.

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I don't think we know for sure about Brandon Starks head, but I do think that Bran is just repeating what he has heard over the years climbing over WF and hearing bits of gossip. We know, for instance, that Cat didn't even know what happened to Rickard and Brandon until Jaime told her in ACOK. Suggests that very few people know what really happened to Lord Stark and his heir.

Oh right, I forgot about her convo with Jaime. Been so far up in Bran's head I almost forgot about the other POVs. Can't believe this is our last AGoT chapter. Wow! Will the other books be in separate threads or just continuing on this one until full?

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Another thing, Bran says that Brandon, his uncle, was beheaded by the Mad King. The truth is that Brandon was put in a device to choke him while he watched his father, Rickard, cook in his armor during his "trial by combat". Dark and twisty, I know, but do we know if Brandon's head was actually removed through this type of torture or removed after? IDK if Bran was regurgitating what he was told, remembered wrong or if it was an error. I could see them sparing Bran the details, but he did know about the "rape" of Lyanna by Rhaeger.

Maybe Bran only heard that his uncle was executed and never learned the specific way. Because Ned (normally) used beheading as his way of executing, Bran automatically thought his uncle was beheaded.

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Oh right, I forgot about her convo with Jaime. Been so far up in Bran's head I almost forgot about the other POVs. Can't believe this is our last AGoT chapter. Wow! Will the other books be in separate threads or just continuing on this one until full?

We will continue on this thread until we reach 400 post which is the limit the mods prefer before closing a thread.

I definitely agree that GRRM has been careful about naming our Bran. There are a lot of Brandon Starks. (from the Wiki)

  • Bran the Builder, the legendary first King of Winter and builder of Winterfell and the Wall

Brandon Stark (son of Bran the Builder), who might have designed the Hightower

Brandon Stark (Breaker), a king known as Brandon the Breaker who defeated the Night's King

Brandon Stark (Shipwright), a king known as Brandon the Shipwright lost sailing the Sunset Sea

Brandon Stark (Burner), a king known as Brandon the Burner who burned the northern ships

Brandon Stark (Ice Eyes), a king known as Brandon Ice Eyes who defeated slavers

Brandon Stark (Bad), a king known as Brandon the Bad

Brandon Stark (son of Bennard), second son of Bennard Stark

Brandon Stark (son of Cregan), fifth son of Cregan Stark, a Lord of Winterfell

Brandon Stark (the daughterless), a Lord of Winterfell in the legend of Bael the Bard

Brandon Stark (son of Willam), a child that Old Nan came to Winterfell to nurse after his mother died birthing him

Brandon Stark (son of Artos), a twin son of Artos the Implacable

Brandon Stark, the eldest son of Lord Rickard Stark who was killed by King Aerys II

Brandon "Bran" Stark,

Common themes, anyone?

A mix of good and bad Brandon's. The earliest ones are all very legendary and it's interesting that you have a Brandon connected to the Hightower, especially post World Book where the The Hightower and the Reach in general was way more fascinating than I imagined. You've even got some very early fertility god running around who is either a early day Jolly Green Giant or a bloodthirsty savage. Y'know..like you do. Apparently Bran the Builder built a lot. Like...a lot a lot. And the Hightower seems like it has some sort of weird proto-Valyrian-esque stone. What could that mean?! Did Brandon the Builder have access to dragons? Again, Syemon Star-Eyes killing a dragon during the age of heroes, long before Aegon came over.

Also, just to point out but not listed is Brandon SNOW--Torrhen Stark's (the King who Knelt) bastard brother who thought he had figured out a way to kill Aegon's dragons with weirwood arrows.

We're pretty sure that Bran the Builder is also the Last Hero and I personally am suspicious of the NK's and BtB being one and the same.

If there is one theme it is perhaps that Bran could go either way, depending on his influences, mentors and own idea of right and wrong.

It's like everything is ASOIAF, things are as simple as good or bad. We are introduced tot he Starks as this great noble family but even they have skeletons in their closets. And as we follow each Stark child plus Jon we learn that they are all very human with their own virtues and imperfections.

As we continue to explore Bran's character we will begin to see more of his imperfections. What is interesting is that like with most of the "heroes" of the story (Bran, Jon, Dany, Arya, Sansa) we understand in a way the justification for their misbehavior. It doesn't make it right but we understand why they behaved in that way or did that thing they shouldn't have done.

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Sorry if this analysis isn't through enough, I've had to deal with a bad flu over the past week.




Bran I: The Howls


They are talking to me, brother to brother, he told himself when the direwolves howled.



Summary



Chapter begins with talk of the howling of the direwolves in winterfell and the red comet that has appeared in the sky.Maester Luwin, Osha, the Septon and Old Nan all give different interpretations of the red comet.



We then find out that the direwolves have been confined in the godswood of Winterfell and Bran explains that this is because of Shaggydog’s wild behavior towards their new guests, big Walder and little Walder. Through Bran’s memories we also learnt how the event occurred, which was after an attack by one of the Walder boys on Rickon, which caused Shaggydog to retaliate. Rickon oddly develops a friendship with them after this.



The chapter ends with Bran having a wolf dream as Summer confined in the godswood and concludes with a similar quote from his crow dream “fly or die” but in this case it is about him going to the true world or dying.



Observations


1. Bran doesn’t remember falling.


2. Bran gets a bad reaction when he looked at the gargyle at location where he fell, which means despite him forgetting about the Lannisters being the ones behind it there are still some of the seeds left in his mind


3. Bran still tries to do things on his own, which is shown from him using theiron bars made on his bed despite them giving him pain when he uses them.


4. Bran has dreamed of a weirwood tree calling him, is this the three eyed crow?


5. Bran dislikes the Frey children because he believes it is their fault that the direwolves have been confined


6. Bran acknowledges that he can still “look” despite him being handicap.





Analysis



Winterfell as Bran’s prison



One of the topics I explored whiles reading this chapter was winterfell being a symbolic prison for Bran and his aim of gaining freedom.



Going back to the first part of the chapter we see that Bran preferred the window seat compared to his bed.



Bran preferred the hard stone of the window seat to the comforts of his featherbed and blankets. Abed, the walls pressed close and the ceiling hung heavy above him; abed, the room was his cell, and Winterfell his prison. Yet outside his window, the wide world still called.



The use of the word “called” seems important; it ties in well with how Bran’s story has developed so far. In A Game of Thrones he was “called” by the three eyed crow and now he is being called again from Winterfell.



The yearning for freedom from Winterfell is also shown through Summer and Shaggydog. As both direwolves are howling Farlen states that it is freedom they want.



“It’s freedom they’re calling for,” declared Farlen, who was kennelmaster and had no more love for the direwolves than his hounds did. “They don’t like being walled up, and who’s to blame them?



Since one of the direwolves is Summer, symbolically that represents Bran also wanting freedom.


When Bran has his wolf dream at the end of the chapter, he also believes the right destination is “out” of Winterfell.



Winterfell, he remembered, the sound coming to him suddenly. Beyond its sky-tall man-cliffs the true world was calling, and he knew he must answer or die.



When we also look at the use of the word “true”, the quote shows us that he is meant to be out of Winterfell.



Spirit Guardians



The idea of the direwolves as spirit guardians is reinforced in this chapter again. Shaggydog attacks one of the Walder boys after he attacks Rickon and Maester Luwin brings up the incident where Bran was rescued by Summer from an assassin. Both of these events are viewed negatively by Maester Luwin but there is a positive part of this because from this we know that the direwolves will protect the Stark children at all costs.



The Comet



The comet plays a large role in the series as a whole but I believe the main purpose in this chapter is to drive home the idea that there isn’t an absolute truth, people view one thing via their own beliefs.



We have three different perspectives of the comet in this chapter, one from Septon Chayle and the last two from Old Nan and Osha.


Septon Chayle refers to it as a sword.



Bran asked Septon Chayle about the comet while they were sorting through some scrolls snatched from the library fire. “It is the sword that slays the season,” he replied,



With summer coming to an end he believes it has to do with the changing seasons


Osha says it has to do with blood and fire.



“Your wolves have more wit than your maester,” the wildling woman said. “They know truths the grey man has forgotten.” The way she said it made him shiver, and when he asked what the comet meant, she answered, “Blood and fire, boy, and nothing sweet.”



And Old Nan said it had to do with dragons.



Though Old Nan did not think so, and she’d lived longer than any of them. “Dragons,” she said, lifting her head and sniffing. She was near blind and could not see the comet, yet she claimed she could smell it. “It be dragons, boy,”



One thing, but everyone has their own meaning.



Wolf’s Howl



The howling of the wolves plays the biggest part of the chapter. As background information, the direwolves usually howled when something bad was about to happen in A game of thrones, like Ned’s death and Bran’s fall and they also howled to help heal Bran. The reason why they howl in this chapter is a mystery Bran wants answered within the chapter.



The howling is heard by Bran as a song and he is able to distinguish the howls for each wolf.


This song may be related to the true tongue.



Summer’s howls were long and sad, full of grief and longing. Shaggydog’s were more savage.



Robb was able to do the same thing in a game of thrones but Catelyn could not, so this drives home Old Nab’s point in the chapter that the Starks have wolf blood.



the Starks had wolf blood. Old Nan told him so. “Though it is stronger in some than in others,” she warned.



I don’t think this means Starks are related to wolves biologically, I think it has to do with an old magic that bound their line to direwolves.




Motifs and Symbols



Nature



Bran’s connection to nature reoccurs in this chapter but this time it isn’t in the form of a man but in the form of a wolf when he is subconsciously warging Summer. He has the same feeling of everything in nature being connected to him.


He was moving on four good legs, strong and swift, and he could feel the ground underfoot, the soft crackling of fallen leaves, thick roots and hard stones, the deep layers of humus. It was a good feeling. The smells filled his head, alive and intoxicating; the green muddy stink of the hot pools, the perfume of rich rotting earth beneath his paws, the squirrels in the oaks.



Direwolves mirroring owners



GRRM likes to use the actions and feelings of familiars of character’s in his story to symbolize the action and feeling of said character. We’ve seen him done it before in earlier Bran chapters with the direwolves and he does it here aswell.


Summer howls in grief and longing are similar to Bran and Shaggydog’s savage howls are similar to how “out of control” Rickon has been acting.




Conclusion



As this is the first Bran chapter of A Clash of Kings, it introduces us to many of the many of the issues Bran will be dealing with such as his wolf dreams, his new guests and his new role as Prince of Winterfell. Not a lot going on but still an important chapter as a foundation for what is to come in this book.


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Thanks for the excellent analyses Bear Queen and Queen Alysanne! Really great!



I have to play catch-up now. I'm off to do some reading and I'll be back with comments.


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Sorry if this analysis isn't through enough, I've had to deal with a bad flu over the past week.

Bran I: The Howls

Very nice job Queen Alysanne!! I hope you feel better :)

I always think it's interesting to look at the first POV chapter in each book and see how far (or not so far) the character has come.

In AGOT we open with Bran riding out with his father and brothers and being told that he is now old enough to see death. It's a rite of passage and one of his first entrances into manhood. It's like he is being accepted into the inner circle of the men at Winterfell. It ends with him being gifted a direwolf. In Bran I AGOT, life is full of possibility. There is no news from the south to dread, WF is as safe as it gets, and Bran has a very good life.

In ACOK Bran I we have a boy who is now crippled and not only can't take his journey into manhood any farther, but has in some ways regressed back to a younger age. He has to be carried in arms like a baby. He has to stay indoors because WF is no longer safe for him. WF is now a prison instead of a home. They wait for news from the south with anticipation. His father is dead. But he still has his wolf. Pretty extreme opposites.

Bran dislikes the Frey children because he believes it is their fault that the direwolves have been confined

I dislike the Frey children because they are mean and very Frey-ish.

Bran preferred the hard stone of the window seat to the comforts of his featherbed and blankets. Abed, the walls pressed close and the ceiling hung heavy above him; abed, the room was his cell, and Winterfell his prison. Yet outside his window, the wide world still called.

It's interesting that Bran prefers the stone seat; it's evocative of his second chapter during the climb in which Bran talks about how much he likes the stones of WF and how he well he knows them.

Since one of the direwolves is Summer, symbolically that represents Bran also wanting freedom.

When Bran has his wolf dream at the end of the chapter, he also believes the right destination is “out” of Winterfell.

I agree that he is being called out of WF and into the world. Since you brought up Summer, it's interesting that the wolf is causing such a ruckus at the same time a raven arrives from the Citadel announcing that Summer has ended. Winter really is coming and Bran feels the call of the wild more profoundly.

And Old Nan said it had to do with dragons.

Though Old Nan did not think so, and she’d lived longer than any of them. “Dragons,” she said, lifting her head and sniffing. She was near blind and could not see the comet, yet she claimed she could smell it. “It be dragons, boy,”

And honestly, it's a bit of all three explanations. It does come on the heels of Summer ending, it does comes at the start of bloodshed and death, and of course Dany has just helped hatch three real dragons.

Two side notes

1) I love Old Nan. If it turns out that Theon or one of the Iron Born killed her, I will burn Pyke to the ground

2) I really need Old Nan and Dany to meet. The little old blind lady would sense Dany and just be like, "you be a dragon." And then would proceed to mother the crap out of her.

The howling is heard by Bran as a song and he is able to distinguish the howls for each wolf.

This song may be related to the true tongue.

Bran refers to the wolf howling as a song and a secret language that no one knows---but I have to wonder if the COTF know it. Also, the way it's described (as a language beyond our understanding) is eerily similar to the way the Other-language was described in the Prologue of AGOT.

I don’t think this means Starks are related to wolves biologically, I think it has to do with an old magic that bound their line to direwolves.

I don't either; it's not akin to the Targs potentially have literal dragon blood in their veins. I do think the Starks have something in their blood that makes them stand out against all the other (hmmm...good word choice, BQ) First Men, but it's not direwolf blood.

Some Misc Notes

1. "Maester Luwin tugged at this chain where it chafed his neck." I've begun noticing that this sentence reoccurs quite often in ASOIAF with Luwin. And, I think it happens when Luwin's concrete, scholarly, tangiable reality is being questioned by Bran, and specifically when Bran is presenting ideas of evidence that flies in the face of everything Luwin holds to be real and true. The chain around his neck--which represents knowledge of the mundane--begins to bother him because he can't answer Bran's magical questions.

2. A certain Tree is calling to Bran, like the 3-eyed crow and like the world.

3. Rickon is going to be the scariest child ever by the time this is over.

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Sorry if this analysis isn't through enough, I've had to deal with a bad flu over the past week.

Bran I: The Howls

They are talking to me, brother to brother, he told himself when the direwolves howled.

Nicely done! I sure hope you feel better. It's a really nasty germ going around.

I agree that the world outside of WF is calling to Bran. Specifically, the wild world north of the wall.

For the wolves...I struggle a little with they way others treat them. No one can deny that they've saved the Stark children, Bran particularly, yet they can still be treated like wild, vicious animals. Shaggydog is certainly dangerous and Rickon is quickly sharing his temperament. However, I don't see anyone trying to change their behavior. Only a few sweet words from time-to-time for Rickon and chains for the wolves. Ned's words were, "You must train them as well,’ their father said. You must train them. The kennelmaster will have nothing to do with these monsters, I promise you that. And the gods help you if you neglect them, or brutalize them, or train them badly. These are not dogs to beg for treats and slink off at a kick. A direwolf will rip a man’s arm off his shoulder as easily as a dog will kill a rat." Rickon, to me, seems too young to be able to train his wolf. Even if the kennelmaster isn't involved someone should have stepped in to help. Both Rickon and Shaggy are becoming feral.

Bran, OTOH, has an abundance of instructors. Luwin, Osha, Septon, etc. and the 3EC for the moment. More to come soon.

I found it interesting that the Septon's explanation of the comet was more scientific than anyone else's. I expected him to answer about the Seven. Instead he tells us about the seasons. Osha and Old Nan are telling us that it's about dragons. I have to imagine that Osha knows little of the Westeros heraldry and house words. "Blood and fire", the Targaryen words. I also like how Old Nan can "smell" the comet (calling to her Targ blood? Insert crackpot here) :cool4: Me, I'm with the ladies on this one. Majority rules.

Spot on with nature/Bran connection IMO. I think the CotF spoke to direwolves they way they spoke to ravens and I think Bran will learn to truly speak to all things natural the way the children did. The True Tongue.

I always think it's interesting to look at the first POV chapter in each book and see how far (or not so far) the character has come.

I dislike the Frey children because they are mean and very Frey-ish.

It's interesting that Bran prefers the stone seat; it's evocative of his second chapter during the climb in which Bran talks about how much he likes the stones of WF and how he well he knows them.

I agree that he is being called out of WF and into the world. Since you brought up Summer, it's interesting that the wolf is causing such a ruckus at the same time a raven arrives from the Citadel announcing that Summer has ended. Winter really is coming and Bran feels the call of the wild more profoundly.

And honestly, it's a bit of all three explanations. It does come on the heels of Summer ending, it does comes at the start of bloodshed and death, and of course Dany has just helped hatch three real dragons.

Two side notes

1) I love Old Nan. If it turns out that Theon or one of the Iron Born killed her, I will burn Pyke to the ground

2) I really need Old Nan and Dany to meet. The little old blind lady would sense Dany and just be like, "you be a dragon." And then would proceed to mother the crap out of her.

Bran refers to the wolf howling as a song and a secret language that no one knows---but I have to wonder if the COTF know it. Also, the way it's described (as a language beyond our understanding) is eerily similar to the way the Other-language was described in the Prologue of AGOT.

Some Misc Notes

1. "Maester Luwin tugged at this chain where it chafed his neck." I've begun noticing that this sentence reoccurs quite often in ASOIAF with Luwin. And, I think it happens when Luwin's concrete, scholarly, tangiable reality is being questioned by Bran, and specifically when Bran is presenting ideas of evidence that flies in the face of everything Luwin holds to be real and true. The chain around his neck--which represents knowledge of the mundane--begins to bother him because he can't answer Bran's magical questions.

2. A certain Tree is calling to Bran, like the 3-eyed crow and like the world.

3. Rickon is going to be the scariest child ever by the time this is over.

So much has changed since we first saw Bran. So very, very much. I don't like either of those Frey boys and HATE that they are being fostered there. Right off the bat their very presence causes issue (the wolves confined to the GW). And I certainly don't like their influence on Rickon. The further we get into this the more I think there's a future conflict between Rickon and Bran being set up. Poor Rickon is lonely and very easily influenced. Bran seems to handle him better than anyone else, but he still has difficulty reigning him in. I think he likes the stone window better bc it reminds him of climbing. He previously described liking the way the stone and mortar felt under his nails and toes. I think he's comfortable on the stone like he used to be climbing.

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Only a few sweet words from time-to-time for Rickon and chains for the wolves. Ned's words were, "You must train them as well,’ their father said. You must train them. The kennelmaster will have nothing to do with these monsters, I promise you that. And the gods help you if you neglect them, or brutalize them, or train them badly. These are not dogs to beg for treats and slink off at a kick. A direwolf will rip a man’s arm off his shoulder as easily as a dog will kill a rat." Rickon, to me, seems too young to be able to train his wolf. Even if the kennelmaster isn't involved someone should have stepped in to help. Both Rickon and Shaggy are becoming feral.

That's a really great observation and I think speaks to the fact that no one is there to "train" Rickon either. We don't see a lot of Luwin/Rickon interaction in the series. Ned is dead, Cat is gone, Robb is gone and Bran is really young. Rickon (and thus by extension Shaggydog) are becoming wild because there is no one around to curtail them. Had Cat not left, I have to wonder if Rickon and Shaggy would be as wild.

"Blood and fire", the Targaryen words. I also like how Old Nan can "smell" the comet (calling to her Targ blood? Insert crackpot here

LOL. Well, if the popular theory is right that Old Nan and Dunk had a thing going on, then Nan would also know Egg--so, she's met (smelled?) a "dragon" before. (I am suddenly very curious about Nan and Jon)

Poor Rickon is lonely and very easily influenced. Bran seems to handle him better than anyone else, but he still has difficulty reigning him in.

I'm hoping Osha helps ease Rickon out of his wildness. She's becoming his stand in mother.

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That's a really great observation and I think speaks to the fact that no one is there to "train" Rickon either. We don't see a lot of Luwin/Rickon interaction in the series. Ned is dead, Cat is gone, Robb is gone and Bran is really young. Rickon (and thus by extension Shaggydog) are becoming wild because there is no one around to curtail them. Had Cat not left, I have to wonder if Rickon and Shaggy would be as wild.

LOL. Well, if the popular theory is right that Old Nan and Dunk had a thing going on, then Nan would also know Egg--so, she's met (smelled?) a "dragon" before. (I am suddenly very curious about Nan and Jon)

I'm hoping Osha helps ease Rickon out of his wildness. She's becoming his stand in mother.

I think it's a situation similar to Joff but will have an opposite effect. Bran is now Robb's heir, older, crippled and certainly special. He gets a LOT of attention from everyone. Rickon seems to be neglected in this area. After Bran's first chapter Ned remarks that Rickon needs to grow up. Even though he's 3 "Winter is coming". Bran is being groomed into Lord/Prince like Joff was but Rickon seems to be a willful and defiant as Joff turned out to be. Nature v nurtue, that old shtick.

My theory - Old Nan is Shiera Seastar sent to WF as a wet nurse by BR so they could still be close and work together. And I think she got it on with Dunk too. She was known as a seductress so I have to assume she got around the Red Keep a bit. The age would be about right, the milkyness in her eyes would hide their mismatched colors. And other things that I won't go into here. :)

IDK how much Cat would've helped. Even when she was there she wasn't "there" and Robb had to remind her of her responsibilities to Rickon in particular. I think he's in good hands with Osha. At least that she's his best shot. A wildling to tame a wild child.

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In hindsight, the game they play, lord of the crossing, is super creepy. So all Catelyn had to say was "mayhaps, Robb will marry one of your daughters?" lol


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In hindsight, the game they play, lord of the crossing, is super creepy. So all Catelyn had to say was "mayhaps, Robb will marry one of your daughters?" lol

Oh I meant to bring up that game originally. Thanks for the reminder. It's basically the game of thrones for children. It's teaching them how to swear oaths, how to lie, how to take over as lord if you so desire. It's a game to them, but to the adults (and readers reading) it's very clearly the real-world scenario Robb, Cat et al find themselves in.

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