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MoIaF

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

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Agreed about cultures attributing their heroes with their own cultural values. That is even if The Last Hero, Azur Ahai, The Prince That Was Promised, etc. began as the same hero each culture took it upon themselves to create their hero mythology. Now, after thousands of years this original hero would not fit in with many of the cultural values of difference society and thus not be their "one true hero".

I also agree with your thinking that what the original Starks (Northerners) would consider a hero might not fit in with what is currently considered a hero.

Going back to something I said last week, I believe that our current group of heroes will be force to do things that might not be considered very heroic in order to fight their wars. These personal sacrifices of their morality, will probably be "clean up" by time in order to make their deeds as clean and "heroic" as possible.

I think it will be Bran who will be able to show us the why of the Others actions. I think he might be very conflicted about the struggle between the Others and the humans, however, he will eventually tell the humans how to defeat the Others (or push them back), but it won't feel good. The ability to see what was and what is, is as much a gift as it is a curse. It's the human heart in conflict with itself, a recurring theme in the series.

This is really nicely said and I agree completely, as well was what BearQueen87 said above about questioning the nature of the hero and the accounts of what the Last Hero might have done in the past. I'd simply add that it ties in very nicely with Bran's loss of his dreams of someday being a heroic knight.

One more thing on the name Winterfell. A fell is also just a high place or hill. It calls to mind other locations of the children's caves or important places like High Heart. Perhaps Winterfell itself was a dwelling place of the Children, or even the place where the LH met with them (especially if BtB=LH). This doesn't mean that it can't also be the place where Winter Fell in the sense of descended upon humans (as it is doing in ADwD, where Winterfell seems to be the source of the storm) and/or where Winter Fell in the sense of being defeated.

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I think it will be Bran who will be able to show us the why of the Others actions. I think he might be very conflicted about the struggle between the Others and the humans, however, he will eventually tell the humans how to defeat the Others (or push them back), but it won't feel good. The ability to see what was and what is, is as much a gift as it is a curse. It's the human heart in conflict with itself, a recurring theme in the series.

First I agree that it will be Bran who will give us the "why." But, obviously, I take a different stance with the "after" part of that. I think he'll be on the other (small o but big O works too) side and it's won't feel good at all, but he's the only one who has the inside track on what is going on in Other-ville. And I agree with you in regards to the ability to see being a gift and a curse (just ask BR, I'm sure). He'll be super conflicted and that speaks to what GRRM has said is the only thing worth writing about. But knowledge is power and power...is addicting. Especially if that power gives you wings (literally)

So...YAY! We agree on like 2/3 of that. ;) *BQ feels weird when she doesn't agree with MOIAF*

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This is really nicely said and I agree completely, as well was what BearQueen87 said above about questioning the nature of the hero and the accounts of what the Last Hero might have done in the past. I'd simply add that it ties in very nicely with Bran's loss of his dreams of someday being a heroic knight.

One more thing on the name Winterfell. A fell is also just a high place or hill. It calls to mind other locations of the children's caves or important places like High Heart. Perhaps Winterfell itself was a dwelling place of the Children, or even the place where the LH met with them (especially if BtB=LH). This doesn't mean that it can't also be the place where Winter Fell in the sense of descended upon humans (as it is doing in ADwD, where Winterfell seems to be the source of the storm) and/or where Winter Fell in the sense of being defeated.

I really like the idea that the location of Winterfell once belonged to the COTF. The World Book definitely lays out how truly violent their history was and the idea that Men took the homes of the COTF is keeping with that.

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One more thing on the name Winterfell. A fell is also just a high place or hill. It calls to mind other locations of the children's caves or important places like High Heart. Perhaps Winterfell itself was a dwelling place of the Children, or even the place where the LH met with them (especially if BtB=LH). This doesn't mean that it can't also be the place where Winter Fell in the sense of descended upon humans (as it is doing in ADwD, where Winterfell seems to be the source of the storm) and/or where Winter Fell in the sense of being defeated.

I've always thought that perhaps the crypts of winterfell was a former cavern of the CotF, and perhaps still connects to their net work of caverns underground. It would explain why it keeps going on and on, deeper and deeper.

ETA: I also realize that another parallel betwen the LH and Bran is "Belief" of CotF, the LH believed the CotF could help man and Bran also thinks they will help his uncle Benjen. We'll see whether his "Saviour view" of them will change or remain the same as the story progresses.

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I hope you'll forgive me for backtracking so much, but I've been thinking a lot about Bran's fall and Jaime, both in the past and now again with this reread. I realized that we never discussed the fact that Bran fell before Jaime pushed him. He catches the ledge with one hand, and Jaime "saves" him as he claws at the stone. Then Jaime says,



"Take my hand, before you fall."



Note the before! It's not a "lest you fall," but rather could be read as, "you're falling anyway, but before you do, take my hand" (and yes, that hand that Jaime will lose). There are mythological parallels here: Jaime is like the Old Norse god Tyr, who gives his hand in pledge to the Fenrir wolf during the binding of the wolf by the gods. Here we see Jaime give his hand to the wolf, resulting in the "wolf in chains" until the wolf can snap his chains (and in Bran's case, "fly" as per Jojen's imagery). Like Tyr, Jaime loses his hand. Note: in the Old Norse story, the gods were deceiving the wolf, and Tyr paid the price. (And in the end, I mean the very end, Ragnarok, the wolf does at last break loose, and kills Odin, the one-eyed god hanging from the world-tree Yggdrasil, who is evoked by Bloodraven).



Was it not just necessary for Bran to fall, but also for Jaime to be drawn into the story?



Also, Nan's story about the lightning-struck tower is not only right in terms of the outcome of the fall, but also the pecking out of the eyes by crows. Or at least the third eye!



Again, I don't mean to halt our progress here, but wanted to add these little bits to the earlier excellent discussion of Bran's fall started by BQ.

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I hope you'll forgive me for backtracking so much, but I've been thinking a lot about Bran's fall and Jaime, both in the past and now again with this reread. I realized that we never discussed the fact that Bran fell before Jaime pushed him. He catches the ledge with one hand, and Jaime "saves" him as he claws at the stone. Then Jaime says,

"Take my hand, before you fall."

Note the before! It's not a "lest you fall," but rather could be read as, "you're falling anyway, but before you do, take my hand" (and yes, that hand that Jaime will lose). There are mythological parallels here: Jaime is like the Old Norse god Tyr, who gives his hand in pledge to the Fenrir wolf during the binding of the wolf by the gods. Here we see Jaime give his hand to the wolf, resulting in the "wolf in chains" until the wolf can snap his chains (and in Bran's case, "fly" as per Jojen's imagery). Like Tyr, Jaime loses his hand. Note: in the Old Norse story, the gods were deceiving the wolf, and Tyr paid the price. (And in the end, I mean the very end, Ragnarok, the wolf does at last break loose, and kills Odin, the one-eyed god hanging from the world-tree Yggdrasil, who is evoked by Bloodraven).

Was it not just necessary for Bran to fall, but also for Jaime to be drawn into the story?

Also, Nan's story about the lightning-struck tower is not only right in terms of the outcome of the fall, but also the pecking out of the eyes by crows. Or at least the third eye!

Again, I don't mean to halt our progress here, but wanted to add these little bits to the earlier excellent discussion of Bran's fall started by BQ.

BRILLIANT. Absolutely fab. Thank you for bringing that up. I totally believe that one of BR's biggest reference points is Odin (black birds and all!) and I do tend to see Bran as BR's ultimate replacement which would necessitate the death of the "old god"

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I hope you'll forgive me for backtracking so much, but I've been thinking a lot about Bran's fall and Jaime, both in the past and now again with this reread. I realized that we never discussed the fact that Bran fell before Jaime pushed him. He catches the ledge with one hand, and Jaime "saves" him as he claws at the stone. Then Jaime says,

"Take my hand, before you fall."

Note the before! It's not a "lest you fall," but rather could be read as, "you're falling anyway, but before you do, take my hand" (and yes, that hand that Jaime will lose). There are mythological parallels here: Jaime is like the Old Norse god Tyr, who gives his hand in pledge to the Fenrir wolf during the binding of the wolf by the gods. Here we see Jaime give his hand to the wolf, resulting in the "wolf in chains" until the wolf can snap his chains (and in Bran's case, "fly" as per Jojen's imagery). Like Tyr, Jaime loses his hand. Note: in the Old Norse story, the gods were deceiving the wolf, and Tyr paid the price. (And in the end, I mean the very end, Ragnarok, the wolf does at last break loose, and kills Odin, the one-eyed god hanging from the world-tree Yggdrasil, who is evoked by Bloodraven).

Was it not just necessary for Bran to fall, but also for Jaime to be drawn into the story?

Also, Nan's story about the lightning-struck tower is not only right in terms of the outcome of the fall, but also the pecking out of the eyes by crows. Or at least the third eye!

Again, I don't mean to halt our progress here, but wanted to add these little bits to the earlier excellent discussion of Bran's fall started by BQ.

Nice parallel :bowdown:

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Thanks guys! The Fenrir imagery of the bound wolf also works with some of the reflections upthread about what we mean by "hero" and what kind of person might be a hero to the Northerners thousands of years ago (i.e. that they might have terrible heroes). The wolf unchained might be something a lot more terrifying and apocalyptic than the "winged wolf" who can see but not act.


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Thanks for the excellent analysis, MoIaF! :thumbsup: I personally think it is as meaty as it needs to be.





The Direwolves


Firstly, I would say that I don’t believe this has any bearing on future events, that is I don’t believe that the direwolves are sensing that Tyrion will be a threat (present or future) to the Stark children. I believe the reaction of the direwolves towards Tyrion is an empathetic reaction to their masters. The direwolves can sense the children’s antagonism towards Tyrion given the events that have transpired. This antagonism is then transferred to the direwolves, and they thus treated Tyrion with the same hostility.





I agree with you here. I also think the direwolves are similar to the daemons in Northern Lights--they are physical manifestations of the Stark children's personalities and feelings, in a way.






The Others


Now, I think this is dramatize for storytelling purposes, this made me think of two things. The first part refers to the inability of men to push back the Others which might show that whatever will be needed will have to be of a magical nature. Secondly, it made me think about Craster and the sacrifice he gave to the Others of his male sons. Which leads me to question why those who represent death need living children? What is it that these living children provide for them?






Wouldn't it be great if we could know? The only thing I can think of is that they are a form of blood sacrifice :dunno:





Robb the Lord



“Only Robb and baby Rickon were still here, and Robb was changed. He was Robb the Lord now, or trying to be. He wore a real sword and never smiled.”



Bran’s description of Robb is both reflective and representative of the changes that have taken place since Bran’s fall. Bran’s description of the changes in Robb are somewhat resentful but I don’t think it’s resent of Robb so much as resentment of all the had transpired while Bran was in a coma.



The world had changed around him and he was having a hard time coming to grips with the new world he found himself in. Very few of the things he knew before the fall where the same. This is very tough for children, although resilient, change can be very hard for them.



Of course we later see that Robb is still a boy resending to be a man. At the end of the chapter both Robb and Bran cry for the lost of what they once had.





I'll add to this by saying that not only is Bran lamenting what once was but he is also very confused. He is somewhat caught between two realities. He thinks this: Only Robb and baby Rickon were still here, and Robb was changed. He was Robb the Lord now, or trying to be. His entire family left him behind. I think he was closer in age to Arya than any of his other siblings; and to a degree, I think he was closer in temperament to Jon. [it is important to note that both Jon and Arya were older than him]. In a sense, the siblings closest to him are now gone and he finds himself caught in a space where he cannot define what or who he is all on his own.



Throughout this chapter he shows sign of (at least) a mild from of cognitive dissonance. Firstly, he observes Rickon playing with the direwolves--a characteristically childish thing:Wherever the boy went, Grey Wind was there first, loping ahead to cut him off, until Rickon saw him, screamed in delight, and went pelting off in another direction. Shaggydog ran at his heels, spinning and snapping if the other wolves came too close. But then we get him thinking this in the next few lines: His eighth name day had come and gone. He was almost a man grown now, too old to cry. After a few more observations of the world around him he goes back to this: He wanted his mother and father. He wanted to go running with Summer loping beside him. And then this: His [Robb's] days were spent drilling the guard and practicing his swordplay, making the yard ring with the sound of steel as Bran watched forlornly from his window. By now you get the point. The fall robbed him more than his legs. His family is gone. His identity is unstable and nothing makes sense. He shifts between his desire to be a child and an adult; his fear to be a child and to be an adult; even I struggle to understand his feelings here.



And he is literally helpless. Oh so helpless. In a society where males are valued mainly for their physical prowess and not much for anything else, Bran does not belong. The sad part is that he knows it: Hodor lifted Bran as easy as if he were a bale of hay, and cradled him against his massive chest. and Bran clasped them as he sat, his useless legs dangling. The great seat made him feel half a baby. Yet even though he knows it, there is still denial: The word [cripple] was a knife through Bran’s heart. He felt tears come unbidden to his eyes. “I’m not a cripple!”





Lions and Gargoyles


This is a somewhat typical coping mechanism. He’s associated what he heard with his fall (of course) but the fear of being harmed again might be why he’s subconsciously choosing not to remember what he heard, because he subconsciously fears he’ll be hurt again.





This is not the only coping mechanism he has. I believe one of the unintended consequences of his ability to fly in the dream is that the wonder in him, as a child, has been completely tarnished. I'm a fervent atheist but even I will admit that a child who does not "believe [in magic]" is a sad thing. Especially in a world where dragons exist and the dead can walk.


“It came easier to me, Maester. It is not terribly unlike my own saddles.”


“Will I truly be able to ride?” Bran asked. He wanted to believe them, but he was afraid. Perhaps it was just another lie. The crow had promised him that he could fly.





CONCLUSIONS


An interesting chapter, bot a lot of action but it touches upon important themes throughout the series. We get glimpses of things we’ll see in later chapters wetting our appetite of what’s to come. We also see Bran learning to live with his new reality. His anger and sadness at what has happen to him. He begins the chapter by lashing out at Old Nan, because he needed to direct his anger at something but then later we seem him hold Robb’s hand as they both cry over what has been lost. We also see again Bran’s great ability to observe the world around him. Bran is a complex character and we see a lot of this complexity in this chapter.





Agreed. I think we also get some confirmed foreshadowing. As was suggested by Bear Queen, the part in the last chapter where we saw Hodor carrying an anvil to the forge was eerily similar to Hodor lifted Bran as easy as if he were a bale of hay...



I have also seen this mentioned in several threads: Theon Greyjoy had once commented that Hodor did not know much, but no one could doubt that he knew his name.



And here is to hoping Benjen will come back in The Winds of Winter, and not undead: “The children will help him,” he blurted, “the children of the forest!”






Sometimes Old Nan told it one way and sometimes another. In all the stories the little boy died at three of a summer chill, but Old Nan stayed on at Winterfell with her own children.




This quote shows us that there is truth in Old Nan's tales however they aren't always told in the same way, the main point of commonality is the conclusion of said stories. For instance if we look back at Bran II, Old Nan's story is about a boy climbing too high and getting struck by lightning and then he falls, the lightning bit doesn't happen to Bran however, only the conclusion about a boy falling from climbing too high is what occurs.

I believe this will be important later in the story. This is also similar to the way tales are spread throughout westeros, for instance different versions of how one thing occurs but all having similar conclusions.





Very astute observation!





When looking at the line of "howling out of the north" GRRM seems to be hinting at the connection of winter and wolves, which might be a nod at the Starks having a connection to "ice"




ETA didn't finsh posting due to time:


Also from this quote



watch. So as cold and death filled the earth, the last hero determined to seek out the children, in the hopes that their ancient magics could win back what the armies of men had lost. He set out into the dead lands with a sword, a horse, a dog, and a dozen companions. For years he searched, until he despaired of ever finding the children of the forest in their secret cities.





Dany also has a few howling lines in her chapter(s). I think most noticeably, her last chapter in Dance. It appears to be one of her biggest fears. *Some heavy paraphrasing*: she feared howling forever alone in the cold darkness.





It may have another meaning. The tower reaches far into the clouds, he climbs higher and higher. The gargoyles are outlined against the moon. All of those images have an arcane implication, especially the gargoyles whispering things 'terrible to hear' which is similar to the phrase 'It had three eyes, and the third eye was full of a terrible knowledge.' in the last chapter, also in a dream. (Why always terrible knowledge? Why can't there be nice and uplifting arcane knowledge?) Not wanting to hear it could be detrimental to Bran mastering his powers. That is just one interpreation, maybe it doesn't apply here, but what the dream accomplishes in any case is that Bran is afraid of dreaming, and that cannot possibly a good thing regarding Bran becoming a greenseer (and his mental health in general). This is one side effect caused the three-eyed crow suppressing the events, good job! This point will also come up in later chapters.



Another interesting note is about the story of Bran the Builder. Bran says that it never was his favorite story, but much of his story arc (and the series in general) is about how you do not necessarily get what you want and need to settle with something else. This could be a foreshadowing that Bran will have a 'Builder'-role in the future.





A lot for me to ponder in the bolded paragraph.





I would put it more cynically: This is about his life before he broke and barely recovered. When his life was whole. It is about what he lost. He lost the use of his legs, his ability to climb and to ride. He lost his parents and every sibling he could talk to. Rickon is too young and Robb is too concerned with living up to his role as lord of Winterfell. He also lost many of the other people he knew at Winterfell. Furthermore he is disappointed that he cannot fly, probably taking it too literally, and thinks the crow lied to him. He is sad, frustrated, angry and bitter. He wants his old life back. That is why he snaps at Old Nan and thinks 'spitefully' of her. She is the person who is around him the most after he woke up and so he unleashes his frustation on her. But he is not completely swallowed by his bitterness, since he still ends up listening to her story and even being upset when Luwin and Hodor interrupt him.



He is also not in denial: It would never be the way it had been, he knew. The crow had tricked him into flying, but when he woke up he was broken and the world was changed. So he at least acknowledges that this is the situation he is in and that it is not going to change back. But he does not see the whole picture. That becomes evident when he has his encounter with Tyrion:


"Nonsense," said Lannister. "With the right horse and the right saddle, even a cripple can ride."


The word was a knife through Bran's heart. He felt tears come unbidden to his eyes. "I'm not a cripple!"


"Then I'm not a dwarf," the dwarf said with a twist of his mouth. "My father will rejoice to hear it."



He realises what position he is in, what he can and cannot do, but he did not realise, up until this point, what category that puts him in. He is a cripple. That is not the kind of person who is a hero in the kind of story Bran knows (but thankfully a kind of person who can be heroic in the kind of story we are reading). Cripples have one designated part in those stories: People to be protected by the hero along with children, women and old people (no, they are not equal opportunity stories). And a cripple is what many (but not all) other people will see when they see him. Maybe they will treat him with kindness, but even when they are doing that they will partially reduce him to that attribute. The kind of person other people will maybe pity, maybe despise, but never admire. And that are the implications that this word, this category, brings with it. To put it in Tyrion's words: Never forget what you are, for surely the world will not.


I wish I could say that is not an issue anymore nowadays: I cannot.


At the time of this chapter Bran is somewhere between 'realising the situation' and 'facing the situation'.





You and I are approaching this from different angles but I think in a roundabout way we may be arriving at the same conclusion, maybe.



Bear Queen, I spend too much time agreeing with you, even when your ideas are crackpot. I think especially when your ideas are crackpot. That kind of stuff just should not happen with people who are on Team Daario Naharis and Team Ser Jorah Mormont, respectively.



This right here:





And yeaaaaaaaah, sorry. I think all those companions are going to die. Think about it, what does the LH set out with?



A sword: Meera and her spear


A horse: Hodor


A dog: Summer, obviously


Dozen companions: Bran has one other companion and uh...*runs away from Jojen fan #1*



Misc Notes



1. I think it's become a little obvious that I have a different view point when it comes to champions than some others in this re-read so I'm not going to harp but I just want to say that with BtB = The LH, I also think that LH is just shorthand for "ice champion" and if the Others truly are beings of ice and snow and Winter (again, that Stark word) then I do think that Bran's role in the future is not exactly one that puts him in line with everyone else. And yes, I see the "sweet summer child" as irony



2. Ice spiders are frikkin evil. Let's avoid those!



3. We finally meet Old Nan. Awesome, she is. But I really need to know why she thinks all crows are liars, and what her story about the crow is.



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I hope you'll forgive me for backtracking so much, but I've been thinking a lot about Bran's fall and Jaime, both in the past and now again with this reread. I realized that we never discussed the fact that Bran fell before Jaime pushed him. He catches the ledge with one hand, and Jaime "saves" him as he claws at the stone. Then Jaime says,

"Take my hand, before you fall."

Note the before! It's not a "lest you fall," but rather could be read as, "you're falling anyway, but before you do, take my hand" (and yes, that hand that Jaime will lose). There are mythological parallels here: Jaime is like the Old Norse god Tyr, who gives his hand in pledge to the Fenrir wolf during the binding of the wolf by the gods. Here we see Jaime give his hand to the wolf, resulting in the "wolf in chains" until the wolf can snap his chains (and in Bran's case, "fly" as per Jojen's imagery). Like Tyr, Jaime loses his hand. Note: in the Old Norse story, the gods were deceiving the wolf, and Tyr paid the price. (And in the end, I mean the very end, Ragnarok, the wolf does at last break loose, and kills Odin, the one-eyed god hanging from the world-tree Yggdrasil, who is evoked by Bloodraven).

Was it not just necessary for Bran to fall, but also for Jaime to be drawn into the story?

Also, Nan's story about the lightning-struck tower is not only right in terms of the outcome of the fall, but also the pecking out of the eyes by crows. Or at least the third eye!

Again, I don't mean to halt our progress here, but wanted to add these little bits to the earlier excellent discussion of Bran's fall started by BQ.

Thanks for finally answering a question I asked a few days ago--Kyoshi said:

I think that's realistic and I appreciate that. Makes me wonder what other challenges Bran will face as a crippled boy.

On the subject of Jaime offering his hand to Bran and then deceiving him by pushing him...I read this theory once, I think it was the Schmendrick one, where the theorist tied it to mythology. I can't remember the bits that mattered and I'm on my phone. One of the key points made was that Jaime later loses the same hand he used to push Bran. I'm wondering if there is something in this chapter which may point in that direction. I couldn't find anything on my own so I thought I would ask here. (I think there is something in the chapter I will be analysing but since the events there are so closely tied to Bear Queen's chapter I thought I should mention it now.)

And welcome back, MoIaF!

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I'll add to this by saying that not only is Bran lamenting what once was but he is also very confused. He is somewhat caught between two realities. He thinks this: Only Robb and baby Rickon were still here, and Robb was changed. He was Robb the Lord now, or trying to be. His entire family left him behind. I think he was closer in age to Arya than any of his other siblings; and to a degree, I think he was closer in temperament to Jon. [it is important to note that both Jon and Arya were older than him]. In a sense, the siblings closest to him are now gone and he finds himself caught in a space where he cannot define what or who he is all on his own.

Throughout this chapter he shows sign of (at least) a mild from of cognitive dissonance. Firstly, he observes Rickon playing with the direwolves--a characteristically childish thing:Wherever the boy went, Grey Wind was there first, loping ahead to cut him off, until Rickon saw him, screamed in delight, and went pelting off in another direction. Shaggydog ran at his heels, spinning and snapping if the other wolves came too close. But then we get him thinking this in the next few lines: His eighth name day had come and gone. He was almost a man grown now, too old to cry. After a few more observations of the world around him he goes back to this: He wanted his mother and father. He wanted to go running with Summer loping beside him. And then this: His [Robb's] days were spent drilling the guard and practicing his swordplay, making the yard ring with the sound of steel as Bran watched forlornly from his window. By now you get the point. The fall robbed him more than his legs. His family is gone. His identity is unstable and nothing makes sense. He shifts between his desire to be a child and an adult; his fear to be a child and to be an adult; even I struggle to understand his feelings here.

Very nicely put! Bran has been thrust--shoved--unceremoniously into adulthood before he was ready (come to think of it, so has Robb and Rickon to a lesser extent). How do you deal with the world as an adult when part of you is now frozen physically? Especially when the world in which you live predicates heavily on the idea that men are supposed to do certain things: fight, father children, be active.

Bear Queen, I spend too much time agreeing with you, even when your ideas are crackpot. I think especially when your ideas are crackpot. That kind of stuff just should not happen with people who are on Team Daario Naharis and Team Ser Jorah Mormont, respectively.

Awww But we're both Team #SilverQueen4Ever so that helps. ;)

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On the matter of direwolves and warnings and foreshadowings and all: even though I agree that in this scene with Tyrion the direwolves are expressing and magnifying their human partners' feelings, it can be hard to know when this is the case and when they are communicating something possibly unknown to their partners. I'm thinking back to the chapter when Bran falls from the tower, and recall Summer's behavior as Bran began his climb. Summer was at the base of the tree and howled as Bran began to climb, as if he knew some terrible danger was there. This might be the only example I can think of when it seems impossible that the direwolf behavior might be an expression of the (however unconscious) feelings or doubts of the human partner. Like Old Nan's story of the lightning-struck tower, it's a detail to give us the sense that there are much larger forces at work in Bran's fall. [i do realize one could offer a more prosaic explanation, that Summer can hear/sense the presence of Jaime and Cersei in the tower. Nevertheless, I think Summer's behavior adds to the sense of doom, in the sense of inevitable fate.]



Kyoshi: I really love your analysis of Bran's oscillating fears and desires between childhood and adulthood, which echoes the in-betweenness of his falling, and I suppose the shaman/greenseer: Bran has been placed as an outsider looking in, and will, I suspect, have to make terrible adult decisions that no child should have to make. I don't think it's a stretch to think that we have in the child/adult tension a foreshadowing of a tension between human and super-/non-human values. But that's getting WAY far ahead!


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I'll add to this by saying that not only is Bran lamenting what once was but he is also very confused. He is somewhat caught between two realities. He thinks this: Only Robb and baby Rickon were still here, and Robb was changed. He was Robb the Lord now, or trying to be. His entire family left him behind. I think he was closer in age to Arya than any of his other siblings; and to a degree, I think he was closer in temperament to Jon. [it is important to note that both Jon and Arya were older than him]. In a sense, the siblings closest to him are now gone and he finds himself caught in a space where he cannot define what or who he is all on his own.

Throughout this chapter he shows sign of (at least) a mild from of cognitive dissonance. Firstly, he observes Rickon playing with the direwolves--a characteristically childish thing:Wherever the boy went, Grey Wind was there first, loping ahead to cut him off, until Rickon saw him, screamed in delight, and went pelting off in another direction. Shaggydog ran at his heels, spinning and snapping if the other wolves came too close. But then we get him thinking this in the next few lines: His eighth name day had come and gone. He was almost a man grown now, too old to cry. After a few more observations of the world around him he goes back to this: He wanted his mother and father. He wanted to go running with Summer loping beside him. And then this: His [Robb's] days were spent drilling the guard and practicing his swordplay, making the yard ring with the sound of steel as Bran watched forlornly from his window. By now you get the point. The fall robbed him more than his legs. His family is gone. His identity is unstable and nothing makes sense. He shifts between his desire to be a child and an adult; his fear to be a child and to be an adult; even I struggle to understand his feelings here.

And he is literally helpless. Oh so helpless. In a society where males are valued mainly for their physical prowess and not much for anything else, Bran does not belong. The sad part is that he knows it: Hodor lifted Bran as easy as if he were a bale of hay, and cradled him against his massive chest. and Bran clasped them as he sat, his useless legs dangling. The great seat made him feel half a baby. Yet even though he knows it, there is still denial: The word [cripple] was a knife through Bran’s heart. He felt tears come unbidden to his eyes. “I’m not a cripple!”

This is not the only coping mechanism he has. I believe one of the unintended consequences of his ability to fly in the dream is that the wonder in him, as a child, has been completely tarnished. I'm a fervent atheist but even I will admit that a child who does not "believe [in magic]" is a sad thing. Especially in a world where dragons exist and the dead can walk.

“It came easier to me, Maester. It is not terribly unlike my own saddles.”

“Will I truly be able to ride?” Bran asked. He wanted to believe them, but he was afraid. Perhaps it was just another lie. The crow had promised him that he could fly.

Yes, I think we agree on most points. But I would like to point out the important distinction between the perception of himself and and his desires. I disagree about him wanting to be an adult. He does not think: 'I wish I would be a man grown.' He thinks: 'He was almost a man grown now, too old to cry.' He sees himself as an adult or at least close to one, it is not a desire, it is part of his self-perception. If there is some cognitive dissonance then between his desires and his self-perception

The fall affects him on four different levels:

1.) His status quo: He lost what he already had. Everything that we both listed already: The use of his legs, his ability to climb, his parents, the siblings closest to him, many friends that have gone south and his general ability to be somewhat independent by needing help constantly now. He was already sad in his second chapter that he needed to leave his home and his friends in Winterfell, now he lost much more.

2.) His self-perception: He was Bran the climber, the one who had this unique view on Winterfell, knows places no one else knows and many secrets of Winterfell that even their maester does not know, now he will never climb again, losing the ability he probably prided himself most on. He was starting to go on an adventure south, starting his own tale. Now he is stuck in Winterfell. He sees himself as an adult or at least not as a child, but because he cannot use his legs he needs to be carried everywhere, constantly dependent on someone else.

3.) His ambitions: He wanted to be a knight, a hero of one of his stories. He wanted to be one of the kingsguard, a legendary warrior. Now he cannot even walk anywhere without help. Everything he wanted to be is denied to him now.

4.) His alternative: A bit different than the others, but nonetheless there. The crow promised him that he would fly, he has all these visions, can see from one end of the world to the other. And then he wakes up and can do nothing. At his point he thinks the crow lied to him and with this the only thing he could have gotten out of the whole situation is denied to him as well. There was one hope the dream gave him and it is immediately taken away (or so he thinks at that moment).

At the start of the chapter he ponders 1. and thinks about all he has lost with slight allusions to 2. (the line about him being almost a man grown). Then he thinks about how the crow lied to him (4). Then, when he is summoned, he becomes aware of how helpless he is, 2. again. And then the line about him being a cripple comes and that hits both 2. and 3. hard. The whole chapter is a realisation process. At first he only sees what he has lost and the immediate downsides of his situation, then he becomes aware of more and more facets (him getting carried down etc.) when Tyrion calls him a cripple he sees the larger situation, although he does not want to. This is why I insisted on the word category (and you described the same in other words as I read it), because it has the whole set of implications (societal and his own regarding self-perception and wishes) you and I wrote about.

I only find it important to distinguish the above points, because they describe different aspects of his situation and his personality and his fall hits everything at once. And that is what makes it an even more traumatic experience.

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Yes, I think we agree on most points. But I would like to point out the important distinction between the perception of himself and and his desires. I disagree about him wanting to be an adult. He does not think: 'I wish I would be a man grown.' He thinks: 'He was almost a man grown now, too old to cry.' He sees himself as an adult or at least close to one, it is not a desire, it is part of his self-perception. If there is some cognitive dissonance then between his desires and his self-perception

This is a nice point, and I think it goes back to or at least stems from Bran I; Bran is finally deemed old enough by the other men of the household to witness death. it's an initiation of sorts--a right of passage. Once you go out to see your first beheading, you're "one of the men folk" and that means you need to stop "acting the boy" (pretty sure Robb says this to Bran at one point). But of course, Bran is still a kid, a traumatized one. And the things that define men in Westeros--fighting, ruling, and making heirs--are all things Bran can no longer do or be expected to do. So...he's in liminal stage, but with no hope of moving out of it by conventional methods.

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MoIaF, on 30 Nov 2014 - 1:25 PM, said:

(Sorry, not a thorough as I wanted it to be, but I hope it's still useful )

Bran IV - AGOT

“Oh, my Sweet Summer Child

Very nicely done!

“His fur had darkened until he was all black, and his eyes were green fire. Bran’s Summer came last. He was silver and smoke, with eyes of yellow gold that saw all there was to see. Smaller than Grey Wind, and more wary. Bran thought he was the smartest of the litter.”

The bolded part of the quote is quite interesting, given what we know of Bran’s later story. His observation I imagine is more intuitive as it is from knowledge. There is no way of him truly knowing that Summer is more observant than his brothers but perhaps he senses this.

It is also interesting because we will later learn the power that Bran will process once he is connected to the Weirwood Network. He will truly be able to see much of what’s happen and explain it to us the reader.

I think the description of Shaggydog fits well with Rickon's personality and I think it'll really show when he returns. He'll be darker and wilder. Green fire = wildfire...unstoppable and nearly uncontrollable. It would also seem that Bran's warg connection with Summer gives him a better grasp of Summer's intellect.

Firstly, I would say that I don’t believe this has any bearing on future events, that is I don’t believe that the direwolves are sensing that Tyrion will be a threat (present or future) to the Stark children. I believe the reaction of the direwolves towards Tyrion is an empathetic reaction to their masters. The direwolves can sense the children’s antagonism towards Tyrion given the events that have transpired. This antagonism is then transferred to the direwolves, and they thus treated Tyrion with the same hostility.

It is an important observation because we begin to see the development of the bond between the direwolves and the Stark children. Yes, normal dogs can sense their owners hostility but what is interesting here is that all three dogs acted in unison and their level of hostility was very similar.

snip

Going back to the chapter, Robb’s behavior is understandable given his current situation and who Tyrion is. Robb is under a lot of pressure and stress, he was basically abandoned by both his parents and now must be Lords of Winterfell and a surrogate father to his younger brothers.

I agree. Robb was told about the suspicions from Catelyn and greeted Tyrion with hostility. The dogs picked up on this hostility and echoed their person's reaction. They even attacked together, as a pack. This is a great way to throw off the readers too, making it seem like more than it is. It also shows Robb's immaturity; he's not ready for this. Like you said, he's been thrust into a position of authority and left to his devices. Ned & Cat had the sense to continue on like nothing was amiss until they couldn't. Robb would have been smart to do the same, maybe even make excuses to keep Tyrion there longer, i.e. hawking, visiting the mountain clans, etc.

Guest Rights

“Robb was seated in Father’s high seat, wearing ringmail and boiled leather and the stern face of Robb the Lord… His sword was across his knees, the steel bare for all the world to see. Even Bran knew what it meant to greet a guest with an unsheathed sword.”

Ah guest right, even our sweet Summer Child Bran understands what is happening. This scene always makes me think of the crypts where the longswords are laid across the laps of the dead Starks. I won't go any further than that here, yet. Guest Right plays such an important role in so many things in the series and we are introduced to it so early that I have a feeling it's bigger than this.

I also think Tyrion and Bran have formed a bond, much like Tyrion and Jon did. Cripples, bastards and broken things, they're all kindred spirits. There's a lot of talk on the forums about Jon and Tyrion and the ramifications of their friendship. I think Bran should be in that mix too. Tyrion didn't shield him from the truth but came right out and called him a cripple. Own it. I think Bran will respect him for that. And then there's the saddle. I'll go into much more detail towards the end of ADwD but for now I'll leave it as this...he won't be using that saddle in later books to ride a pony.

Lions and Gargoyles

I just love what you have here.

Queen‍‍‍‍‍‍ Alysanne‍‍, on 30 Nov 2014 - 2:37 PM, said:

Old Nan's tales

One of the themes in Bran's arc is Old Nan's tales coming back to life, and with that as readers we need to pay attention to her tales and also the way they are told.

I found this quote from this chapter insightful.

Sometimes Old Nan told it one way and sometimes another. In all the stories the little boy died at three of a summer chill, but Old Nan stayed on at Winterfell with her own children.

This quote shows us that there is truth in Old Nan's tales however they aren't always told in the same way, the main point of commonality is the conclusion of said stories. For instance if we look back at Bran II, Old Nan's story is about a boy climbing too high and getting struck by lightning and then he falls, the lightning bit doesn't happen to Bran however, only the conclusion about a boy falling from climbing too high is what occurs.

I believe this will be important later in the story. This is also similar to the way tales are spread throughout westeros, for instance different versions of how one thing occurs but all having similar conclusions.

With the above in mind, I wonder if the story of how Bran the Builder built the wall and winterfell is just another version of the story of the Long Night and how it occured.

When looking at the two:

Thousands and thousands of years ago, Brandon the Builder had raised Winterfell, and some said the Wall.

and then

Thousands and thousands of years ago, a winter fell that was cold and hard and endless beyond all memory of man.

The two tales might be the same and being told in different ways, with the commonality of both occuring "thousands and thousands" of years ago.

This part is a bit crackpot but I think there might be a connection to this strange winter that came and the building of winterfell and the wall.

After all it must be called "winter fell" for a reason. Perhaps thats where the strange winter that caused the Long Night began to fall.

When looking at the line of "howling out of the north" GRRM seems to be hinting at the connection of winter and wolves, which might be a nod at the Starks having a connection to "ice"

ETA didn't finsh posting due to time:

Also from this quote

watch. So as cold and death filled the earth, the last hero determined to seek out the children, in the hopes that their ancient magics could win back what the armies of men had lost. He set out into the dead lands with a sword, a horse, a dog, and a dozen companions. For years he searched, until he despaired of ever finding the children of the forest in their secret cities.

The timeline of this story also seems to show that the CotF had already fled North when the Long Night occurred considering the Last Hero had to search for them. Without jumping ahead this contradicts Maester Luwin's later statement that the Children fled only after the Andals came.

On Old Nan again

“Visitors are not so patient, and ofttimes they bring stories of their own.”

The story brought by the visitor was about Benjen and Bran connected it to the story Old Nan made so I believe the author wants us to also make that connection to what is happening with Benjen.

In terms of Old Nan's story I'm not sure whether she is describing wights or white walkers as the ones having a weakness to fire". The reference of fire being a weakness to wights has been heavily hinted in the series from Sam's POv and Bran's later POV with Leaf, but hasn't been hinted with in terms of the white walkers. And also she describes the the others as corpses and GRRM stated that they are not dead but rather alive.

I really like this, particularly the bolded part. I have been wondering if there's any good leads about Benjen other than crackpot stuff. I haven't been able to find them and this makes sense. Bran really is our best source for information on the past, and not just bc of his future role.

I would put her at min. of 100, but I tend to think older.

If the Others truly hate all manner of life and living things, then I think it's safe to say that they have no way to reproduce--child birth being the ultimate expression of life. Mothers are probably rare if they exist at all in Other-ville and I can't help but ponder if in Other-culture there is some sort of taboo on the idea of motherhood. (*Looks over at Essos and Dany.* How you doing, kid? Get to Westeros soon, okay?)

However all races to continue onward. It is one of the basic tenants of all life on earth, the drive to make more of yourself in order to survive. Whatever is going on with those kids...I don't think it's sunshines and daises. I'm not one of the people who thinks that the children of Craster ARE the Others, but I do wonder if there is some icy magic going on with them.

The fact that this last Hero is being named a Stark and is a story told by Starks and their retainers needs to be remembered because it begs the sort of question of what would the Starks of ye olden days think of as "hero." And maybe more importantly, how did the story change in order to suit the idea of heroism? There was a great line in the world book about how singers would change the songs to fit the holdfast at which they were staying. The bare bones are there, but the details are nunaced so that you don't offend your host.

So I agree that the name Winterfell is really important, though I go back and forth over what. If you break it down there are two options that I see.

1) Winter---Ended. As in, this is the place that Winter fell (ended)

2) Winter---came. As in this is the place that Winter fell (came) for the first time.

In Cat I, Cat thinks about how strange the Stark words are because unlike other families they seem almost out of place. But I think they serve a different purpose: they are like a threat. They aren't reminding the world that winter eventually comes, but rather "we (winter) are coming for you." Reminder that the Kings in the North were once the Kings of WINTER. The rightful rulers of ice and snow and cold winds and everything that we associate with winter. The KoW did not fear winter, they embraced it, they lived in it. It made the Starks who they are. With that it mind, I tend to lean toward the 2 above option about the naming of Winterfell.

I would say more than obvious parallels. I think Bran IS the LH 2.0

And again, I urge caution about adopting the word hero strictly because we don't know the cultural connotations that are latched on to that, though I think you're agreeing with me.

And yeaaaaaaaah, sorry. I think all those companions are going to die. Think about it, what does the LH set out with?

A sword: Meera and her spear

A horse: Hodor

A dog: Summer, obviously

Dozen companions: Bran has one other companion and uh...*runs away from Jojen fan #1*

Misc Notes

1. I think it's become a little obvious that I have a different view point when it comes to champions than some others in this re-read so I'm not going to harp but I just want to say that with BtB = The LH, I also think that LH is just shorthand for "ice champion" and if the Others truly are beings of ice and snow and Winter (again, that Stark word) then I do think that Bran's role in the future is not exactly one that puts him in line with everyone else. And yes, I see the "sweet summer child" as irony

2. Ice spiders are frikkin evil. Let's avoid those!

3. We finally meet Old Nan. Awesome, she is. But I really need to know why she thinks all crows are liars, and what her story about the crow is.

I would not be surprised if Old Nan's stint in WF was meant to be short and a certain crow never came back for her. I agree that Btb/LH are the same. I think there's just enough in her stories for readers to write them off as nursery rhymes. But there is certainly more to it that that. Again, when it comes to Summer and the rest of Bran's group dying my fingers are in my ears, my eyes are closed and I'm chanting "lalalalalalalalala". lol

Interesting observation, if the CotF were still dwelling in the tree towns and caves throughout Westeros than the last hero would have had little trouble finding them.

Could the CotF cave be the same one where the last hero came?

I sure do hope so.

I've always thought that perhaps the crypts of winterfell was a former cavern of the CotF, and perhaps still connects to their net work of caverns underground. It would explain why it keeps going on and on, deeper and deeper.

ETA: I also realize that another parallel betwen the LH and Bran is "Belief" of CotF, the LH believed the CotF could help man and Bran also thinks they will help his uncle Benjen. We'll see whether his "Saviour view" of them will change or remain the same as the story progresses.

If the crypts of WF are connected to their underground caverns it could explain why the builder never leveled the ground and why WF is full of hills and valleys.

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Very nicely done!

I think the description of Shaggydog fits well with Rickon's personality and I think it'll really show when he returns. He'll be darker and wilder. Green fire = wildfire...unstoppable and nearly uncontrollable. It would also seem that Bran's warg connection with Summer gives him a better grasp of Summer's intellect.

Thank you!

I was drawn to the description of Shaggydogs eyes as green fire and I love your conniption to wildfire. Very apt for our your Rickon.

I agree. Robb was told about the suspicions from Catelyn and greeted Tyrion with hostility. The dogs picked up on this hostility and echoed their person's reaction. They even attacked together, as a pack. This is a great way to throw off the readers too, making it seem like more than it is. It also shows Robb's immaturity; he's not ready for this. Like you said, he's been thrust into a position of authority and left to his devices. Ned & Cat had the sense to continue on like nothing was amiss until they couldn't. Robb would have been smart to do the same, maybe even make excuses to keep Tyrion there longer, i.e. hawking, visiting the mountain clans, etc.

At this point Robb is being very much a teenager and is being guided by his emotions will see this theme throughout the different teenager POV's. Being coldly calculating is an acquired skill that few have. His emotions are understandable but you are right, he should have played and kept Tyrion at Winterfell.

Ah guest right, even our sweet Summer Child Bran understands what is happening. This scene always makes me think of the crypts where the longswords are laid across the laps of the dead Starks. I won't go any further than that here, yet. Guest Right plays such an important role in so many things in the series and we are introduced to it so early that I have a feeling it's bigger than this.

I agree, there might be a more overarching connection to the practice as a whole and the idea of guest rights. Perhaps the human's violated the Others guest rights. :)

First I agree that it will be Bran who will give us the "why." But, obviously, I take a different stance with the "after" part of that. I think he'll be on the other (small o but big O works too) side and it's won't feel good at all, but he's the only one who has the inside track on what is going on in Other-ville. And I agree with you in regards to the ability to see being a gift and a curse (just ask BR, I'm sure). He'll be super conflicted and that speaks to what GRRM has said is the only thing worth writing about. But knowledge is power and power...is addicting. Especially if that power gives you wings (literally)

So...YAY! We agree on like 2/3 of that. ;) *BQ feels weird when she doesn't agree with MOIAF*

Haha! Very nicely put. It all might end up being an amalgamation of what a various theories are. I can't imagine very many people would guest outright what GRRM has in store and I'm also sure he's thought up things we can't even imagine.

I know! We agree so much that it is weird when we don't agree. But that's okay disagreements amongst friends is natural we allow each other to have our own opinions. #teamgrownup #allhailthefirsofhername

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This is really nicely said and I agree completely, as well was what BearQueen87 said above about questioning the nature of the hero and the accounts of what the Last Hero might have done in the past. I'd simply add that it ties in very nicely with Bran's loss of his dreams of someday being a heroic knight.

One more thing on the name Winterfell. A fell is also just a high place or hill. It calls to mind other locations of the children's caves or important places like High Heart. Perhaps Winterfell itself was a dwelling place of the Children, or even the place where the LH met with them (especially if BtB=LH). This doesn't mean that it can't also be the place where Winter Fell in the sense of descended upon humans (as it is doing in ADwD, where Winterfell seems to be the source of the storm) and/or where Winter Fell in the sense of being defeated.

Thanks!

I believe that GRRM is playing with the notion of the ideal of a hero especially in universe. We see a lot of this through the exploration of knightly behavior and what is considered knightly and what is not. Going back to the hero aspect those who discussed it were fascinated and to some degree obsessed by it which has caused a great deal of harm. I believe Melissandra is perhaps the most extreme example of doing whatever it takes to make a hero. I said this in the Dany re-read and I'll repeat it here, a hero should be someone who does the right thing without being told to do the right things. It should matter where you came from, what's your name or even bloodline, it should matter what you do. Name and skill (talent/bloodline) can only take you so far, it is important that we also see a how a person will (free will) act regardless of these things or even in spite of them.

ETA: Sorry about the tangent.

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I agree, there might be a more overarching connection to the practice as a whole and the idea of guest rights. Perhaps the human's violated the Others guest rights.

"Ok, last time we had visitors we were, shall we say, a little rude. It did NOT go well. They were here for a Long Night. From now on when people stop by, let's stick to these rules to make sure we don't piss em off again. Our bad."

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"Ok, last time we had visitors we were, shall we say, a little rude. It did NOT go well. They were here for a Long Night. From now on when people stop by, let's stick to these rules to make sure we don't piss em off again. Our bad."

*giggles* :P

Bad hosts...

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Bran V: A ride out of Winterfell



Bran nodded, trying not to let his fear show.




Summary


The chapter begins in the middle of things, as Bran is taking his first ride on a horse since his fall, and this is mostly thanks to the invention shown by Tyrion. As the party goes on their journey Bran and Robb race off ahead of everyone further out into Winterfell’s market and then the woods.



Robb tells Bran about how Jory and many other people that went south with Ned have died and this saddens Bran very much. After hearing a howl Robb decides to check on the direwolves as he believes they have got a kill and leaves Bran in the woods alone.



Bran is then encountered by wildings and Nigt’s Watch deserters. Robb and the direwolves come just in time to save Bran, killing most of the enemies. But that is still not enough as one of the wildings holds a knife against Bran’s neck. Theon arriving with the rest of the part shoots the wilding with an arrow and rescues Bran and Osha (one of the wildings) is taken as prisoner.




Character analysis



This chapter focuses on several changes of Bran’s character since his fall, there are moments where we see a boy trying to prove he is older and doesn’t need help despite his fall, lamenting on the loss of his loved ones, wishing that things were the same as they were, and also finally starting to see the reality of the world.




I’m strong and I’m not young anymore.



After Bran’s fall both his family and those close to him have tried to be more careful and pampering to him as we see from this quote.



He was sick of the way everyone was always fussing over him and asking how he was.




Because of this, throughout the chapter we see Bran trying to prove to everyone that he isn’t young anymore and also that he doesn’t need help despite his fall.



We first notice this at the beginning as he rides out of Winterfell. It’s his first ride out of Winterfell since his fall and Bran is afraid however he wants to show everyone that he isn’t.



“Are you ready?” Robb asked. Bran nodded, trying not to let his fear show. He had not been outside Winterfell since his fall, but he was determined to ride out as proud as any knight.




We also see a similar thing from Bran’s opinion of the Winterfell guard party coming with him and Robb.



Bran would have liked it better if he and Robb had gone off alone, just the two of them, but Hal Mollen would not hear of it, and Maester Luwin backed him. If Bran fell off his horse or injured himself, the maester was determined to be with him.




The key phrase of “just the two” of them shows Bran wanting to prove he is at the same level of Robb, which is another reference of Bran trying to show he isn’t young anymore.


He also compares himself to Robb again later in the chapter, which again is another example of Bran trying to prove that he isn’t young and is on a similar level as Robb.





“I never know how much to tell you, Bran. I wish you were older.” “I’m eight now!” Bran said. “Eight isn’t so much younger than fifteen, and I’m the heir to Winterfell, after you.”






Loved ones die and the reality of the world



In this Chapter Bran also feels deeply sad at the news of the loved ones he has lost.



“The message was from Alyn in King’s Landing. Jory Cassel is dead. And Wyl and Heward as well. Murdered by the Kingslayer.” Robb lifted his face to the snow, and the flakes melted on his cheeks. “May the gods give them rest.” Bran did not know what to say. He felt as if he’d been punched.



After this message Bran goes on to wonder why anyone would kill a nice person such as Jory and he also gets nostalgic at the remembrance of the woods him and Robb enter, as it was Jory that brought them there first years ago. And with everyone starting to disappear or something bad happening to them Bran begins to wonder if he will ever see Jon again.


These changes and deaths also serve as a wakeup call to Bran as he begins to notice the reality of the harsh world Westeros is, just as his sibilings Arya and Sansa will also find out. This quote shows his change of perspective on the matter of war.



Not so long ago, the thought of Robb calling the banners and riding off to war would have filled him with excitement, but now he felt only dread.






Parallels, Symbols, Motifs and Themes




Old Nan’s tales coming to life



The theme of Old Nan’s tales coming back to life have been recurring though out the chapter and Bran even says so himself in this chapter.



“Bran, I need to tell you something. There was a bird last night. From King’s Landing. Maester Luwin woke me.” Bran felt a sudden dread. Dark wings, dark words, Old Nan always said, and of late the messenger ravens had been proving the truth of the proverb. When Robb wrote to the Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch, the bird that came back brought word that Uncle Benjen was still missing. Then a message had arrived from the Eyrie, from Mother, but that had not been good news either. She did not say when she meant to return, only that she had taken the Imp as prisoner.



“Dark wings, dark words” is the key phrase here as they reflect all the messages Bran and his family have been receiving by raven. Nothing has been good news so this again shows that Old Nan’s point of the words from the raven being dark is coming to life.


Bran also reflects on Old Nan’s description of the Winterfell market during winter.



When the snow fell and the ice winds howled down out of the north, Old Nan said, farmers left their frozen fields and distant holdfasts, loaded up their wagons, and then the winter town came alive. Bran had never seen it happen, but Maester Luwin said the day was looming closer. The end of the long summer was near at hand. Winter is coming.




This isn’t a fairy tale and is mostly straight forward, so I believe we may see this occur literally from a future POV in Winterfell. It also shows us that just like everywhere else, the North stores food ahead of Winter.




The Direwolves are more than just animals



This is a recurring theme in all the Stark POVs including Catelyn, and this chapter drives the point home .



Bran looked around for the direwolves. Both had vanished into the wood. “Did you hear Summer howling last night?” “Grey Wind was restless too,” Robb said. His auburn hair had grown shaggy and unkempt, and a reddish stubble covered his jaw, making him look older than his fifteen years. “Sometimes I think they know things…sense things…”




These Direwolves are magical and I don’t believe they are just ordinary wolves as some seem to suggest in some quarters of the forum. The howling from the night before was probably due to the deaths of Jory and co.




Bran and the Nature symbol



Just like the previous chapters we see symbols of nature making Bran feel good just as if he is connected to it.




It was nice under the trees…….The smells filled his nostrils; the sharp fresh tang of pine needles, the earthy odor of wet rotting leaves, the hints of animal musk and distant cooking fires. He caught a glimpse of a black squirrel moving through the snow-covered branches of an oak, and paused to study the silvery web of an empress spider.



The current foamed around rock and root, and Bran could feel the spray on his face as Robb led him over. It made him smile. For a moment he felt strong again, and whole. He looked up at the trees and dreamed of climbing them, right up to the very top, with the whole forest spread out beneath him.





The symbols of nature in connection to Bran are mostly in relation to him as a climber, without jumping ahead, there will be similar things whiles he skinchanges.



Losing loved ones (The Last Hero)



This seems to be a large theme in Bran’s arc and it’s sad to think of because it might mean a lot of people he knows will die throughout his story. As already stated above, Bran just got news that some of the people he loved have died, if it continues like that it will make his story very similar to the Last Hero where his loved ones keep dying or disappearing one by one. This quote metaphorically gives a hint of this parallel.



Theon and the others fell farther and farther behind, until Bran could no longer hear their voices.




Osha



Osha makes her first appearance in this chapter and ends as a prisoner taken into custody by the Starks.





“As you say, Maester. Wayn, bind her hands. She’ll come back to Winterfell with us…and live or die by the truths she gives us.”






Osha is going to play a role of a symbol of what lies beyond the wall in Bran’s arc as we will see in later chapters, and her opinions will often contradict what Maester Luwin says. I believe as readers, at this point onwards we must take note of what Osha says especially in regard to the mythos of the North. The phrase from this chapter “live or die by the truths she givs us”, is probably a hint that most of what she will say is true despite her words being dismissed like Old Nan.




Deserters of the Night’s Watch



This is another theme being presented constantly in Bran’s arc so far as it’s even talked about in his first chapter by Ned and the impression being created is that deserters of the Night’s Watch are worse than scum.



Suddenly Bran remembered the oathbreaker his father had beheaded, the day they had found the wolf pups; that man had worn black as well, and Father said he had been a deserter from the Night’s Watch. No man is more dangerous, he remembered Lord Eddard saying. The deserter knows his life is forfeit if he is taken, so he will not flinch from any crime, no matter how vile or cruel.




Robb also has similar opinion on it





“Deserters from the Night’s Watch,” he said grimly. “They must have been fools, to come so close to Winterfell.”






Also Robb’s point about sending the bodies of the Night’s Watch brothers back to the Wall and leaving the rest to rot shows how important the Night’s Watch is to the North compared to the Southerners who believe it is just an organization made for criminals to serve sentence.




Other Narrative Plot Points


· The situation in King’s Landing is starting to seem bad, and the hostility between the Lannisters and the Starks is starting to build up as Ned was attacked by Jaime Lannister.


· We also here from the Vale that Catelyn Stark has kidnapped Tyrion Lannister, who Bran liked, which again shows the hostility building up between both houses


· Osha and her party seem to have encountered whitewalkers on their way to winterfell, since Stiv pushes aside the idea of giving Bran to Mance and receiving a prize in return with the excuse that whitewalkers are there.


· Also Benjen Stark is still missing according to the Night’s Watch Lord Commander.





Conclusion



This chapter continues just like the previous one to show how the world is changing after Bran’s fall and how that change is affecting his family and those he loves. We are also introduced a new character, Osha that will play a major role later in Bran’s arc and also we get a glimpse at the possibility of the Starks going to war and how this will affect Bran.


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