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

Maybe another point, away from the magical aspects, that was passingly mentioned in the analysis regarding this quote:

“One day, Bran, you will be Robb’s bannerman, holding a keep of your own for your brother and your king, and justice will fall to you. What that day comes, you must take no pleasure in the task, but neither must you look away.”

This is the first mention of Bran's expected role in the Westerosi society: Bran as a bannerman of Robb, the lord of Winterfell, holding a keep of his own. Note that this is mentioned before he gets crippled. It is not just an alternate option for Bran that seems more likely because he gets crippled, it is the desired option in the eyes of his parents. I will jump ahead a little bit to draw the basic connection which we will definitely find more out about in the future chapters.

There are essentially three different conceptions for his future:

1.) Bran the lord, the role he would take according the Westerosi norms.

2.) Bran the knight, his own wish, the path he wants to take.

3.) Bran the greenseer, the path that is open to him because of his talents and may be required due to the times ahead.

These three conceptions and the choices made regarding them will play a huge role later on.

We can say something here about the rigidity of Westerosi society: second sons are expected to keep castles for their lord and brothers, loyal to their family and liege lord. Ned was expected to do likewise for another Brandon until circumstances changed. Interesting to note that both Bran and Ned were second sons who suddenly have duties and expectations thrust upon them that they didn't want.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

How much that still applies is dependent on how special weirwood trees are. The stump is ironwood and we have seen the wildlings carve faces into trees other than weirwoods as well, so there could be a magical element to all trees to a degree. But it could also be the case that because much has been forgotten that they make the 'sacrifice' to the 'wrong' tree and it actually needs to be a weirwood to have any kind of effect.

And then there is the question of necessity: The Reeds never mention blood sacrifice and they seem to have more knowledge about the Old Gods than anyone else in the North (south of the wall). Furthermore the sacifices made in the series are very personal, just sacrificing other people may not achieve anything. That it was practiced does not mean that they did fully understand what they were doing.

I imagine that the blood sacrifice to the weirwood and perhaps other trees with magical properties is that it allows these trees to retain memories of what has passed. Perhaps the blood helps to "power" the trees so that they can capture scenes in their collective memories. This is something for later but I think there might be more elements to the blood sacrifice than just a blood sacrifice.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I imagine that the blood sacrifice to the weirwood and perhaps other trees with magical properties is that it allows these trees to retain memories of what has passed. Perhaps the blood helps to "power" the trees so that they can capture scenes in their collective memories. This is something for later but I think there might be more elements to the blood sacrifice than just a blood sacrifice.

I think someone mentioned in another thread that blood is the universal magical element in the series to power up each facet of magic, the Faceless Men use it, the Red Priests use it, and shadowbinders use it so I guess the same thing would apply to weirwoods in order for them to be activated for their magical properties to come into effect.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think someone mentioned in another thread that blood is the universal magical element in the series to power up each facet of magic, the Faceless Men use it, the Red Priests use it, and shadowbinders use it so I guess the same thing would apply to weirwoods in order for them to be activated for their magical properties to come into effect.

That makes sense. It may not be necessarily need to be "kings blood", but anyone's. Particularly since there have been so many "kings" in the past most anyone could have at the minimum some DNA that belonged to an ancient royal line.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Oh, I missed the start :( Sorry! Two very insightful analysis so far, and at this point they have been covered pretty thoroughly. I'll contribute more after the next chapter, for now I am mostly posting in the thread so that I can keep track.


Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I do agree that the Red are an interesting contrast--especially when you have someone like LSH/Cat who never asked to be brought back and it was done without her say so. In that case, I again agree that we should place criticism on both sides of the magic-doers.

And it's not only the Reds

From the world book

some of the First Men allied with a woods witch who could raise wights, they allied with her to fight against the andals. This drives my point across that raising people from the dead does not equal black since many of these First Men probably have children and wives they are trying to protect and them condoning wights being raised was just a means to survival. So to use the others act of raising wights as proof that they are black/villains is inaccurate

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

And it's not only the Reds

From the world book

some of the First Men allied with a woods witch who could raise wights, they allied with her to fight against the andals. This drives my point across that raising people from the dead does not equal black since many of these First Men probably have children and wives they are trying to protect and them condoning wights being raised was just a means to survival. So to use the others act of raising wights as proof that they are black/villains is inaccurate

Well said. I noticed in the next chapter, Catelyn's first, that when she goes to Ned in the godswood he's cleaning Ice in the pool in front of the heart tree. He didn't wipe it clean right as soon as he executed Gared, he carried it back to WF bloody, to clean it in the pool. Catelyn said he always seeks the quiet of the godswood when he takes a man's life but perhaps it isn't the quiet he's seeking. If he always cleans Ice in the pool then maybe it's a blood sacrifice? Even if he doesn't realize it is.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well said. I noticed in the next chapter, Catelyn's first, that when she goes to Ned in the godswood he's cleaning Ice in the pool in front of the heart tree. He didn't wipe it clean right as soon as he executed Gared, he carried it back to WF bloody, to clean it in the pool. Catelyn said he always seeks the quiet of the godswood when he takes a man's life but perhaps it isn't the quiet he's seeking. If he always cleans Ice in the pool then maybe it's a blood sacrifice? Even if he doesn't realize it is.

Precisely. I don't think Ned knows what is going on (the blood rituals have been lost to time) but it doesn't mean that the gods/trees don't still accept it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Precisely. I don't think Ned knows what is going on (the blood rituals have been lost to time) but it doesn't mean that the gods/trees don't still accept it.

Very interesting. Have you found anywhere in the books regarding why Ned cleans it there? I haven't seen it yet

I also wonder if the blood itself can be a source of information for the trees? Just a few examples of what I mean, though obviously unrealated...in the movie Warm Bodies the zombies eat brains and in the Underworld series the vamps drink blood both of which give them the memories of their victims.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Very interesting. Have you found anywhere in the books regarding why Ned cleans it there? I haven't seen it yet

I also wonder if the blood itself can be a source of information for the trees? Just a few examples of what I mean, though obviously unrealated...in the movie Warm Bodies the zombies eat brains and in the Underworld series the vamps drink blood both of which give them the memories of their victims.

I can only speculate based on Ned's character. He's a deeply religious and honorable man. He doesn't relish killing, even in the name of justice. I think going to the godswood is his way of penance. He knows he had to take a life, and he knows he had to be the one to do it. He says that to Bran in our first chapter: "The blood of the First Men still flows in the veins of the Starks, and we hold to the belief that the man who passes the sentence should swing the sword." Ned knows this is what he must do as Warden of the North and Lord of Winterfell, but it still bothers him. Like many religiously inclined people he seeks the solace and comfort of his gods in times of trouble. Consider that when he mets with Cersei in KL to confront her about her children with Jaime, he does so "in the presence of the gods."

Interesting to note, but Ned's excuse for why he must be the one to swing the sword isn't just a matter of honor or justice but BLOOD. (hey, common theme.)

I do think blood is a source of information. I think MOIAF said upthread that the paste Bran will eat probably has some sort of blood in it. Consider, also, Dany eating the very raw and bloody heart of the stallion in Vaes Dothrak.

There is definitely an element of consumption when it comes to sacrifices in the classical world. You don't just kill the animal you are offering up to the gods; you roast it and burn so that the smoke and blood smells "draw" the gods to your offering so that they might feast on that. There is usually a feast to go along with the ceremony. For example in the Iliad book one, in order to appease a god, there is great sacrifice but it also turns into a bit of a revelry with lots of eating and drinking

Thus did he pray, and Apollo heard his prayer. When they had done praying and sprinkling the barley-meal, they drew back the heads of the victims and killed and flayed them. They cut out the thigh-bones, wrapped them round in two layers of fat, set some pieces of raw meat on the top of them, and then Chryses laid them on the wood fire and poured wine over them, while the young men stood near him with five-pronged spits in their hands. When the thigh-bones were burned and they had tasted the inward meats, they cut the rest up small, put the pieces upon the spits, roasted them till they were done, and drew them off: then, when they had finished their work and the feast was ready, they ate it, and every man had his full share, so that all were satisfied. As soon as they had had enough to eat and drink, pages filled the mixing-bowl with wine and water and handed it round, after giving every man his drink-offering.

And this brings us back to the snow around the tree that is "drinking" up the sacrificial blood of the NW's man.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I figured it was just the way Ned was, but I couldn't remember if there was something about his dad doing it too.



Very insightful. Curious, do you think that information can also be gained without the sacrifice, just through contact? Like just swimming in the pools, or sitting on a weirwood stump.


Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I figured it was just the way Ned was, but I couldn't remember if there was something about his dad doing it too.

Very insightful. Curious, do you think that information can also be gained without the sacrifice, just through contact? Like just swimming in the pools, or sitting on a weirwood stump.

Jaime has his prophetic dream while sleeping on a stump.

Speaking of blood sacrifices, since we're on the subject, this little tidbit came up while reading about Qohor in the World Book

Qohor is the only place that still makes Valyrian steel, and a Maester of the Citidel was banished (and abused apparently) from the city for learning the secret of how to make the steel: blood sacrifices infused into the metal. Interesting, no? How does Valyrian steal stay so sharp? Is it because it too is drinking the blood of its victims--?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Jaime has his prophetic dream while sleeping on a stump.

Speaking of blood sacrifices, since we're on the subject, this little tidbit came up while reading about Qohor in the World Book

Qohor is the only place that still makes Valyrian steel, and a Maester of the Citidel was banished (and abused apparently) from the city for learning the secret of how to make the steel: blood sacrifices infused into the metal. Interesting, no? How does Valyrian steal stay so sharp? Is it because it too is drinking the blood of its victims--?

Yes ma'am, Jaime's dream was what I was thinking of. Just not sure if the information flows both ways. It would be interesting to have Bran see his fall from Jaime's mind's eye since he cannot recall it himself.

VERY interesting. Blood and fire. Every execution, every war and battle would be a sacrifice. We know for certain that Ice has been used in the death of Gared, Lady and Ned himself. A sworn brother of the NW having seen the Others, a direwolf bonded to Sansa and the head of House Stark...those are some powerful sacrifices with a great deal of information to transmit. I assume Ned wielded Ice during RR giving even more valuable intel to gods/CotF/BR/WW/Bran.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Good job, DarkSister101 and everyone else



As to Ghost, he is separate from the rest of the litter just as Jon is from the Starks by virtue of his parentage. Ghost is the sixth pup. Six is associated with harmony, balance and truth. Jon is the balance between ice and fire.



"A ruler who hides behind paid executioners soon forgets what death is."


That was when Jon reappeared on the crest of the hill before them.



"Edd, fetch me a block."



A lesson Jon remembers, and one he may likely keep when he becomes a ruler.




“Direwolves loose in the realm, after so many years,” muttered Hullen, “I like it not.”


“It is a sign,” Jory said.



"There's not been a direwolf sighted south of the Wall in two hundred years."



To add to that, direwolves south of the Wall could be a sign to magic returning to the world. Also, dragons haven't been seen for close to 148 years either. Also, note how there are six direwolves at the time, one for each of the Stark children and Jon (later cut down to five when Lady is killed, and then four when Grey Wind is killed, both times the direwolf numbers equal to the Stark numbers). It is akin to the three Targaryens alive at the time Dany hatches her dragons: herself, Jon and Maester Aemon.



"Ice," that sword was called. It was wide across as a man's hand, and taller even than Robb. The blade was Valyrian steel, spell-forged and dark as smoke.



He lifted the greatsword high above his head.


Bran's bastard brother Jon Snow moved closer.



Two things, one, it is possible foreshadowing for the sword taking off the head of the Hand, Ned. Second, the sword is called "Ice" yet it is Valyrian steel, a kind of combination of ice and fire. It does bring to mind a certain someone of Valyrian descent with the name "Snow."


Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Good job, DarkSister101! Excellent posts from everyone!





To add to that, direwolves south of the Wall could be a sign to magic returning to the world. Also, dragons haven't been seen for close to 148 years either. Also, note how there are six direwolves at the time, one for each of the Stark children and Jon (later cut down to five when Lady is killed, and then four when Grey Wind is killed, both times the direwolf numbers equal to the Stark numbers). It is akin to the three Targaryens alive at the time Dany hatches her dragons: herself, Jon and Maester Aemon.





I also find it interesting that the girls were the first to lose their direwolves. Traditionally, when girls get married they "lose" their original name and adopt their husbands'. I just found it very interesting that for the larger parts of the books, the girls are the ones without their direwolves.


Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Fire Eater, could you clarify your point about the Direwolf number matching the Starks throughout please? When Lady dies there are still 5 Starks + Jon, but only the 4 direwolves + Ghost. Only Greywind dies at the same time as Robb. Or have I misread/missed the point there?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

To add to that, direwolves south of the Wall could be a sign to magic returning to the world. Also, dragons haven't been seen for close to 148 years either.

Agreed. And like I said maybe a few pages back it isn't a coincidence the return of the direwolves/dragons goes hand in hand with Bran/Dany both growing up and entering adulthood.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A nitpick:

I must remind everyone that ironwoods actually exist, and that they are generally just a name for trees that yield hard wood.

Therefore, if Westerosi ironwoods are anything similar to real ironwoods, then there are probably dozens of unrelated tree species commonly referred to as "ironwood" (The Southern Ironwood in Australia and the Borneo Ironwood in Malaysia are about as related to each other as trout and sparrows). For all we know, the ironwood that Yronwood in Dorne is named for, the ironwood that was used to make Tyrion's shield, and the ironwood that lives in the Wolfswood belong to completely different species.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A nitpick:

I must remind everyone that ironwoods actually exist, and that they are generally just a name for trees that yield hard wood.

Therefore, if Westerosi ironwoods are anything similar to real ironwoods, then there are probably dozens of unrelated tree species commonly referred to as "ironwood" (The Southern Ironwood in Australia and the Borneo Ironwood in Malaysia are about as related to each other as trout and sparrows). For all we know, the ironwood that Yronwood in Dorne is named for, the ironwood that was used to make Tyrion's shield, and the ironwood that lives in the Wolfswood belong to completely different species.

Thanks, I'm always open to learn and expand my horizons and admittedly dendrology is not on my resume. I assumed they were real trees such as oak, ash and elm that are also mentioned in the series and not necessarily a magical element. In D&E, Dunk has an oak shield and later a pine shield that does not protect as well. The interesting part was not the existence of ironwood/Yronwood, but the times/places where ironwood was present as well as the connection to the Yronwood's; their word's being "We Guard the Way".

Share this post


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

×