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Tinfoil Theory regarding Faceless Men, Others and Horns


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This is my first theory, so my apologies for any egregious flaws or bad writing (and please go easy on me!). I believe there is a link between the Others, the Faceless Men, the two horns in the story (the Horn of Joramun & Dragonbinder, hereafter referred to as the Ice Horn and the Fire Horn respectively) and Euron Greyjoy.

Let me preface by stating I will be relying on a few assumptions that I feel are relatively uncontentious:

  • Balon Greyjoy was killed by a Faceless Man
  • There is currently a Faceless Man ("Pate") at the Citadel with Sam
  • Sam's horn is the Ice Horn
  • It is inevitable that the Others have to breach the wall at some point, somehow (otherwise why are they a danger?)

If you reject any of these, feel free to reject my theory out of hand.

The Others and the Faceless Men

Whilst there appears to be no direct link between the Others and the Faceless Men, it does seem clear to me that they worship/serve the same God. The Others are consistently associated with death whilst the Great Other, if Melisandre is to be believed, is a god of death. We also know that the god the Faceless Men serve is the many-faced God of Death. In fact we can directly link the two; we know that the Lion of Night is one of the faces of the God of Death (aFfC 34)and we also know that the Lion of Night is reponsible for the Long Night (tWoIaF) - an event in which legend specifically identifies the Others as the aggressors.

So we have two groups which seemingly serve the same god and therefore would be subject to the same overarching agenda (whatever the Great Other/Many-Faced God's agenda is). What in the novels allows us to deduce that they might be working toward the same goal?

The Ice Horn

The two abilities that have been ascribed to the horn are the ability to "wake giants" (aCoK 23) and the ability to destroy the wall (aSoS 30). The name of the horn is probably a reference to Jörmungandr, so a link to giants is certianly likely. Similarly, an artifact that can destroy the wall or nullify its magic would be a prime contender for what ends up allowing the Others to pass through.

If the Ice Horn allows the Others to breach the wall, then the Others should want to sound it. The two problems they face however are that firstly, the undead probably can't operate horns as they do not breathe (aDwD 5) and that secondly and more importantly, the horn is south of the wall where the Others cannot reach. If only they had an living ally south of the wall, in close proximity to the horn. Wouldn't it be neat for them if that ally was already in the same damn building as the horn.

People have tended to assume that the Faceless Man Jaqen H'ghar is in the Citadel to gain secret information. Well this is likely true; who more likely to have knowledge on how to operate a magical horn than the Citadel? Who more likely than the Citadel to have knowledge of, say, how to fix a broken one? But it's no coincidence that Sam Tarly, in possession of the Ice Horn, has fallen right into Jaqen's lap. If the Faceless Men do indeed serve the Great Other, Jaqen is suddenly in a great position to get the Others through the wall.

How was Jaqen to know that the horn was heading for the Citadel? Well, at the beginning of the story, the most likely place for the horn to be (and indeed where it ended up being) was north of the wall or at the wall itself. This is precisely where Jaqen is heading, supposedly as a prisoner. Why on Earth would a man capable of changing his appearance go along with the charade of being a captive when he can just change his face and escape? Because he wants to go to the wall. Whether he reaches the wall before Sam leaves or not is unimportant; Sam leaves with the horn regardless, and heads for the Citadel.

Now, two things are important to note about Sam's journey to the Citadel; firstly, Sam doesn't know the importance of the horn and therefore has no reason to keep it secret or hidden. Secondly, GRRM draws attention to the fact that the journey is slow. Sam spends a long time in Braavos, precisely where the Faceless Men are located, and we learn at the same time through Arya's chapters that the Faceless Men are keen on acquiring knowledge; Arya has to give them three new facts per day for example. I suspect Sam fails to keep the horn secret (Xhondo for example almost certainly knows that Sam has it, although he probably doesn't realise what it is) and the Faceless Men become alerted to its existence. The fact that Sam takes his time waiting for Aemon to regain his strength gives Jaqen H'ghar time to get to the Citadel after having been alerted by his colleagues about Sam. When Sam finally reaches the Citadel, Jaqen H'ghar is not only there, but he is with Marwyn, who thanks to the glass candle has been awaiting Sam specifically.

There is of course another horn in the story, and a Faceless Man isn't far from that one either....

The Fire Horn

So we've established there's a Faceless Man in the presence of the Ice Horn. Is it just a coincidence that the person who holds the Fire Horn has been in the company of the Faceless Men too? Euron hiring a Faceless Man to kill Balon, as many believe happened, places a Faceless Man in the presence of the Fire Horn during aFfC, and possibly beyond.

"Godless? Why, Aeron, I am the godliest man ever to raise sail! You serve one god, Damphair, but I have served ten thousand. From Ib to Asshai, when men see my sails, they pray"
(aFfC 18)

This reference by Euron to multiple gods and the death that he brings bears a striking resemblance to the Faceless Men and the Many-Faced God/God of Death. I believe that Euron is either working with the Faceless Men, or is being used as a pawn by them to take control of the dragons. I suspect that the Faceless Men would not simply let the Fire Horn go off to Meereen with Victarion, so it may be that the dusky woman is the same Faceless Man as killed Balon - which would explain why she would hiss at Moqorro; her being a servant of the Great Other and Moqorro being a servant of Rh'llor.

But why would the Faceless Men want dragons?

Tying the Two Together

Euron's purpose is at it seems to be; he wants to use the dragons to conquer Westeros and take the Iron Throne for himself. He is weakening the powerful regions in the south (assaulting the reach and drawing the Redwyne fleet away from King's Landing) and plans to wreak destruction on the realm with dragonfire. It is unclear to me whether he realises he is part of a bigger plan than involves simultaneously having the Others attack the north of the realm, but either way he will find out soon.

The Faceless Men, at the behest of the Great Other have control over both horns by the end of aDwD. Their reasons for blowing the Ice Horn are obvious, and the reason they want the Fire Horn too is twofold; firstly it gives them control over the greatest threat to the Others (the dragons), and secondly it gives them a second weapon with which to assault Westeros. If their plan works, theirs will be the song of ice and fire.

Now is the crucial time for their plan. Victarion is almost in Meereen and the Fire Horn will be blown when he gets there. When will they use the Ice Horn? Well, it was used at the end of aDwD.

At the end of aDwD 69, two important things happen. Firstly, the relatively docile Wun Weg Wun Dar Wun suddenly goes uncharacteristically and inexplicably crazy. Secondly, Jon gets stabbed and the one thing he feels is cold. People have speculated that the Others have breached the wall at this point, and I quite agree. "Pate" has killed Sam and activated the Ice Horn, causing the giants to "awaken" and the wall to be breached by the Others. What happens early in tWoW when the Fire Horn is blown, remains to be seen.

Thank you for reading, I hope you at least find it interesting if not convincing. Feedback, of course, is welcome.

Note 1: Why did the Faceless Men in Braavos send word to Jaqen H'ghar about Sam and his horn? Why didn't they just move against Sam themselves? I suspect the answer lies in the sanctity with which they treat their contracts. Jaqen H'ghar took this one, and it is therefore his mission.

Note 2: But the Faceless Men charge for their services, their mission isn't simply to kill as many people as possible? Well, their service is to their God. On a daily basis they have to charge for their contracts as it would be impractical to not do so, but you have to remember that ultimately they see granting death as the ultimate virtue. Deciding to unleash death on a mass scale because they believe their God wants them to, does not strike me as implausible.

Note 3: How do we know Euron actually met with the Faceless Man he hired? We don't but he must have met with at least one in order to arrange the contract, and furthermore we know that the Faceless Man who killed Balon was on Pyke the very day before Euron.

Note 4: When I posted this on Reddit I was alerted to the fact that this is similar to the 'Grand Faceless Men Conspiracy'. I'd not read it before, but it seems sufficiently different to warrant its own topic.

TL;DR: The Great Other and the Many-Faced God are one and the same, and the Faceless Men have sent Jaqen H'ghar to acquire the Horn of Joruman in order to allow the Others to breach the wall, as well as sending another Faceless Man to acquire Dragonbinder to gain control of Dany's dragons. Their plan is to grant their God's gift to the whole of Westeros in a storm of Ice and Fire

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I have an issue with TGO (who may or may not exist at all) being the same as the Many-Faced God. The Faceless Men take death very seriously and consider it part of life. The Others raise the dead to an unnatural state and use them as expendable grunts. To me, the two groups are actually in opposition.

The House of Black and White has a sort of odd balance in the weirwood and ebony, and their view that death is part of life (which is technically correct). It's only their monetizing death that smacks of hypocrisy. As far as we know, the Others are an extreme. They are entirely icy, they bring a bitter and unnatural cold, and darkness (sometimes lasting an entire generation). There's nothing balanced about them.

I agree that if the Horn of Joramun exists, Sam's got it. The name of the horn comes from Joramun the Wilding King-Beyond-the-Wall. He may or may not have been named for Jormungandr. But we do know that giants exist in the far north, so it fits either way. And giants could certainly help destroy the Wall, as it is said they helped build it. Another popular interpretation is that "waking giants from the earth" means causing an earthquake, in which case that is one VERY powerful horn!

Great catch on Jaqen/Whoever he is. He could easily have killed Balon in his downtime before heading for Oldtown based on info they got about where the horn was headed. Keeping in mind the possibility that the FM are actually anti-Other because of the undeath aspect, Jaqen could be hoping to make sure that horn can never get to the Others.

Euron hiring a FM to kill Balon does not put him in company with an FM during AFFC. You hire them, but you don't get to hang out with them while they work, and after the job is done they tend to change faces anyway so Euron wouldn't know who the FM was unless he is one himself (doubtful, he's too arrogant to give up his identity to serve anyone or anything).

Euron's reference to serving a lot of gods was that when people see his sails they pray to those gods. He's basically saying the gods should all thank him for putting people back in touch with their faith before he kills them. It's an arrogant and cruel boast, not a statement of religious belief.

Euron also claims the horn is from Asshai. The most likely actual source though would be the warlocks from Qarth, who we know are on his ship, and who have it in for Daenerys. The FM aren't in on this one; they definitely would not be working with him, as he's untrustworthy and that's not hard to figure out, and he's far too dangerous, ambitious, and unpredictable to be a good pawn.

We actually have no idea whether either horn will work at all. I'm inclined to believe that they do, but not the way people expect, and I think the dragon horn in particular will do something way different from what any of the Ironborn think, and I believe Moqorro knows this but is keeping it to himself for his own reasons. We also don't know that any of the R'hllorists are right about R'hllor versus The Great Other.

I would say that Euron is working with whatever force is behind the Others, and the FM are hoping to stop him. He does plan to attack Oldtown, but the FM got there first.

Another possibility on the FM: they are against both sides and want to use both horns to destroy all of humanity in tribute to their Many-Faced God.

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