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Jon The Berserker

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First a little preamble :



I've recently been taking part in discusssion on JonisHenryTudor's thread ... http://asoiaf.westeros.org/index.php/topic/130177-why-i-believe-jon-is-not-in-need-of-resurrectionwarging/

There's plenty of interesting discussion there, but I wanted to focus on this one possibiblity in a bit more depth and I didn't want to take the whole thread sideways..


Jon The Berserker


When my adult sons and I were reading ASoS at about the same time , and comparing our thoughts, we joked ...What about Jon and Iron Emmett? ...Jon was a bit of a berserker there, wasn't he ?.. but I had no idea I'd later come to consider it a genuine possibility.


When it came to Jon's "death" scene, after the initial shock and trying to reconcile it with the way the story seemed to be tending, and any number of ambiguities.. I soon decided he couldn't be dead. I also discarded the idea that he was dead, but would be resurrected by Mel ... always feeling that if GRRM was telling us anything about resurrection, it was that it may be possible, but it should be avoided ...Then too, I felt that considering Jon's still growing affiliation with the old gods, his healing should/would come by way of wildling medicine, probably under the auspices of Morna and Val. I thought maybe a short coma (a day or two) or a deep fever dream (if he was very seriously wounded) could break down his final warging barriers.


Then in the process of researching and considering other questions, the "berserker" possibility began to emerge. It's debatable how much it has to do with Jon's "wolf blood" and/or his "blood of the dragon"..but something is definitely going on.


GRRM has said here.. http://www.westeros.org/Citadel/SSM/Entry/Quite_a_Few_Questions .. and elswhere, that all the Stark *siblings* are wargs "to a greater or lesser degree, but the amount of control varies widely." ..Besides this , I feel there's also an individuality of expression and in abilities that grows out of the pairing of particular wolves with particular humans... that goes beyond control. E.G. , Arya's unusually brave, and Nymeria has no fear of men. Does one increase this quality in the other ..and if so, which?


Both Jon and Robb display unusual strength or stamina.. E.G.,Robb slings the carcass of an elk onto his horse by himself.. and perhaps the fact that he can force himself to his feet before Roose delivers his death blow. .. For Jon there's his ride from Queenscrown to Castle Black and when the heads of the three rangers are delivered outside the gate ... “The ground is half-frozen. It must have taken the wildlings half the night to drive the spears so deep..." (Bowen Marsh) ... followed by.. Jon Snow grasped the spear that bore Garth Greyfeather’s head and wrenched it violently from the ground. “Pull down the other two,” he commanded, and four of the crows hurried to obey. ...ADWD ..(two men apiece for the other two spears)


But we never see Robb fly into the sort of blind fighting rage that Jon displays on three occasions - twice against Thorne and once against Iron Emmett.


In both Jon's attacks on Thorne, he's fairly unstoppable, but he's aware of people around him trying to hold him back, while it's happening..


(Thorne 1) ... Jon had vaulted onto the table, dagger in his hand. Pyp made a grab for him, but he wrenched his leg away, ***** ..but Sam threw himself between them and before Jon could get around him, Pyp was on his back clinging like a monkey, and Grenn was grabbing his arm while Toad wrenched the knife from his fingers. ...AGoT


(Thorne 2) ... Jon yanked away and grabbed the knight by the throat with such ferocity that he lifted him off the floor. He would have throttled him if the Eastwatch men had not pulled him off. ...ASoS


However, when Jon fights Emmett, there are differences. ... There's a blow that stuns or shocks him and Jon's awareness is shunted back to his and Robb's childhood "Lord of Winterfell" game, followed by (or simultaneous with) the taste of blood.. He's unaware of what happens next, until he begins to come out of it. He sees only the result of his attack.. and there's still a residue of the fury that was fueling him, even after he leaves the scene.


He was almost ready to lower his blade and call a halt when Emmett feinted low and came in over his shield with a savage forehand slash that caught Jon on the temple. He staggered, his helm and head both ringing from the force of the blow. For half a heartbeat the world beyond his eyeslit was a blur. -----

----- Jon could taste blood in his mouth, from the blow he’d taken. ---

--- In the end Halder and Horse had to pull him away from Iron Emmett, one man on either arm. The ranger sat on the ground dazed, his shield half in splinters, the visor of his helm knocked askew, and his sword six yards away. “Jon, enough,” Halder was shouting, “he’s down, you disarmed him. Enough!”

No. Not enough. Never enough. Jon let his sword drop.


There's a bit of banter as scene winds down, then..


Jon wrenched free of his friends and retreated to the armory, alone. His ears were still ringing from the blow Emmett had dealt him. He sat on the bench and buried his head in his hands. Why am I so angry? he asked himself, but it was a stupid question. Lord of Winterfell. I could be the Lord of Winterfell. My father’s heir.


I don't think it's a stupid question, and I don't think Jon comes up with the full answer.. 'His ears were still ringing from the blow Emmett had dealt him." .. He's still affected by what triggered his attack, physically - and I think, emotionally, too.


Moving ahead to ADWD, we come across Jon's dream before letting Tormund's people through the wall, the one that is often seen as proof that he is Azor Ahai.. or psychological proof that he still has ambitions of ruling Winterfell , and / or deep down feelings of guilt / resentment over Robb, guilt over Ygritte... and so on. Well, dreams can work on many levels at the same time, so I won't say none of those interpretations hold any water.

I've gradually come to see it as a revelation of Jon's nature, and perhaps a portent of his future (whatever other interpretations might also work).. Here's the dream


That night he dreamt of wildlings howling from the woods, advancing to the moan of warhorns and the roll of drums. Boom DOOM boom DOOM boom DOOM came the sound, a thousand hearts with a single beat. Some had spears and some had bows and some had axes. Others rode on chariots made of bones, drawn by teams of dogs as big as ponies. Giants lumbered amongst them, forty feet tall, with mauls the size of oak trees.

“Stand fast,” Jon Snow called. “Throw them back.” He stood atop the Wall, alone. “Flame,” he cried, “feed them flame,” but there was no one to pay heed.

They are all gone. They have abandoned me.

Burning shafts hissed upward, trailing tongues of fire. Scarecrow brothers tumbled down, black cloaks ablaze. “Snow,” an eagle cried, as foemen scuttled up the ice like spiders. Jon was armored in black ice, but his blade burned red in his fist. As the dead men reached the top of the Wall he sent them down to die again. He slew a greybeard and a beardless boy, a giant, a gaunt man with filed teeth, a girl with thick red hair. Too late he recognized Ygritte. She was gone as quick as she’d appeared.


The world dissolved into a red mist. Jon stabbed and slashed and cut. He hacked down Donal Noye and gutted Deaf Dick Follard. Qhorin Halfhand stumbled to his knees, trying in vain to staunch the flow of blood from his neck. “I am the Lord of Winterfell,” Jon screamed. It was Robb before him now, his hair wet with melting snow. Longclaw took his head off. Then a gnarled hand seized Jon roughly by the shoulder. He whirled …

… and woke with a raven pecking at his chest. “Snow,” the bird cried.


The scene is one of battle, containing elements of the biggest battle Jon had been in to date, Mance's attack on the Wall ... "They are all gone. They have abandoned me." ... Just as Bowen effectively abandoned Castle Black at the time of the real life battle, Jon again feels abandoned, feels the loss of officers of reason that have died or gone missing, as he articulates in his last chapter, and other places ... A lord needed men about him he could rely upon for honest counsel. Marsh and Yarwyck were no lickspittles, and that was to the good … but they were seldom any help either. More and more, he found he knew what they would say before he asked them.


He feels alone in the battle he must face. ..At first he sees the foe as wildlings, but when we come to "foemen scuttled up the ice like spiders" and "As the dead men reached the top of the Wall he sent them down to die again." .. we naturally think of Others, and wights.


At first the foes he kills are just random individuals , until we come to " a girl with thick red hair. Too late he recognized Ygritte. She was gone as quick as she’d appeared." ... He sees her only for an instant, and.. " The world dissolved into a red mist. Jon stabbed and slashed and cut. " To my mind, recognising Ygritte and the red mist are virtually simultaneous .From this point on, all his victims are people he knew, respected or loved...but that he didn't kill, except for Qhorin. (I think GRRM includes Qhorin to cloud the issue.)


Leaving that aside for a moment and looking at Jon... "Jon was armored in black ice, but his blade burned red in his fist."..Black = the Night's Watch , Ice = the Wall itself. The Wall and the Watch ( and whatever spells originally bound them) are Jon's armour, but I think it goes even deepr than that. Whatever magic is in the Wall is probably also present in the Stark bloodline.For me, this is the meaning of .. "Jon Snow could see his own reflection dimly inside the icy walls." .. ADWD


Jon has "dragon blood" and more than once, he likens the wall to a serpent or ice dragon. Again, he and the Wall reflect each other. But what about ".. his blade burned red in his fist"? .. Just for a moment, let's ignore whether Longclaw is Lightbringer, or whether Jon will find or forge Lightbringer. Forget the prophecy, for now..


“When your dragons were small they were a wonder. Grown, they are death and devastation, a flaming sword above the world.... Xaro Xoan Daxos to Dany .. ADWD


In his dream, Jon is standing on the Wall ,700 ft. "above the world". He is dealing out death and devastation. He is a "dragon". In that moment, he is a flaming sword above the world. (As well as "the sword in the darkness")


From this perspective, the dream delivers some home truths about Jon and they would still be true, no matter how many characters might fit the AA prophecy, and no matter if the prophecy turns out to be accurate or false.


Coming back to the killing in the dream, we see that when "the world disolves into a red mist" Jon kills indiscriminately, so look out. I think we are meant to connect the dream to his bout with Emmett, because he screams "I AM the lord of Winterfell".. In ASoS, Jon had been pondering Stannis' offer. Emmett's blow shocked that memory from his childhood into his mind, and Jon's consequent attack was certainly indiscriminate, judging by Emmett's sad condition afterwards. (Imagine if they had been using edged steel.)


We see that Jon can be shocked into battle frenzy and the dream shows us that it can also be brought on just by the rhythm of battle. I think tasting blood is also important (or perhaps, his own blood and the magic it contains?) ... I have a new thought on that which I'll put at the end.


Of course this is all tied in with the events of the assassination attempt, itself, which I've gone into at length on many threads. If anyone wants to dive into that, I'm putting the breakdown I posted in the Jon Re-read threads here, in green. (Skip past if your brain is full. I tried to put this section in spoilers, but couldn't get it to take).


A Foreshadowing and The Attack


From the scene between Jon and Sam (AFfC ), when the raven pecked through Sam's glove :


“Did that wretch break the skin?”

Sam eased the books down and peeled off his glove. “He did.” He felt faint. “I’m bleeding.”

“We all shed our blood for the Watch. Wear thicker gloves.”


In that same scene, as Sam enters Jon's quarters - ... he made his way past the forge with its anvil and bellows. A shirt of ringmail rested on his (Jon's) workbench, half-completed.

This scene raises some questions ... Does it foreshadow the assassination attempt on Jon , and does it hint at hidden information? - I think we can draw a definite parallel. For openers, Jon's attackers certainly can be described as "wretches" .


Is Sam hurt ? - Yes , but not seriously. He's bleeding ,and he "feels faint" ( just as Jon seems to later, when pain washes over him ) ... Sam handles ravens all the time , and apparently has a way with them. Mormont's raven can be a nuisance , but is generally regarded affectionately by those who come in close contact with it. - e.g. while Jon calls it a wretch ,or a thief , or swats at it , he also lets it read over his shoulder, ;) and strokes it's feathers. - Sam may be equally wounded ( if not moreso ) by the fact the bird "turned on him". ... Will this prove to be similar to the attack on Jon? ..Probably not as much as we would like , but I'm betting - to a degree - yes.


Does Jon go on to heed his own advice to "wear thicker gloves" ? .. Was that Chekov's shirt of ringmail on his workbench ? .. Although he doesn't seem to expect Marsh to go as far as attacking him , he must have felt vulnerable going to address the wildlings ( Some had earlier accepted his terms with cold, dead eyes , while fingering their sword hilts.).. He couldn't be certain he'd win them all over, and from some of them, violence might be expected , after hearing the letter .. more so than from Bowen .


I think it's reasonable to assume Jon would take extra precautions in his attire . The following playful banter between Jon and Val says it would only be common sense..


“This queen of yours must be fierce if the legs of grown men give out beneath them when they meet her. Should I have dressed in mail instead of wool and fur? These clothes were given to me by Dalla, I would sooner not get bloodstains all over them.”

“If words drew blood, you might have cause to fear. I think your clothes are safe enough, my

lady.”

I suspect Jon may have been wearing mail during all the scenes where he's put himself at risk since the shirt was mentioned ; places where he knew he could be facing more than mere words ... e.g. Mole's town, the vows at the grove, Tormund's camp, perhaps the meeting atop the wall, bringing in Tormund's people, and now in the shieldhall.


We All Make Assumptions , Including Jon


Jon notices Bowen with Wick, Lew and Alf in the shieldhall. When he sees Wick and Bowen attack , he'd naturally assume that the other two would follow suit ..That's 4, count 'em, 4 knives that he'd be expecting. This might explain the ambiguous "he never felt the fourth knife". It was expected, but perhaps never came.. Jon may make other assumptions as well and since we're reading his POV , we're tempted to do the same. Here's the scene :


When Wick Whittlestick slashed at his throat, the word turned into a grunt. Jon twisted from the knife, just enough so it barely grazed his skin. He cut me. When he put his hand to the side of his neck, blood welled between his fingers. “Why?”


“For the Watch.” Wick slashed at him again. This time Jon caught his wrist and bent his arm back until he dropped the dagger. The gangling steward backed away, his hands upraised as if to say, Not me, it was not me. Men were screaming. Jon reached for Longclaw, but his fingers had grown stiff and clumsy. Somehow he could not seem to get the sword free of its scabbard.


Then Bowen Marsh stood there before him, tears running down his cheeks. “For the Watch.” He punched Jon in the belly. When he pulled his hand away, the dagger stayed where he had buried it.


Jon fell to his knees. He found the dagger’s hilt and wrenched it free. In the cold night air the

wound was smoking. “Ghost,” he whispered. Pain washed over him. Stick them with the pointy end.


When the third dagger took him between the shoulder blades, he gave a grunt and fell face-first into the snow. He never felt the fourth knife. Only the cold …


Firstly , I want to point out that it seems longer when we read the description than if we were watching the action take place, so there may be very little time between individual strikes. Some things that are described separately or consecutively ( a word , a thought , a feeling, a movement) can overlap , or even happen completely simultaneously.( e.g. - “Ghost,” he whispered. Pain washed over him.) .. Also , Jon may be experiencing that phenomenon where things seem to happen in slow motion in times of crisis... The whole attack above would probably play out in no more than 30 seconds , and that might be generous.


When I count these things out in my head matching movement to "one elephant , two elephant", I go at a methodical pace so as to err on the side of caution. ( Yes, that's how obsessed I am ). ..As a former dancer (in another century), piecing the choreography of the scene together has always intrigued me.


And speaking of choreography , Bowen & co seem to have previously blocked out who would strike where ( we see 3 potentially lethal locations).. They had their script ready (For the watch ) and each struck at a separate kill point. ..They couldn't have predicted Jon's final plan or the reception he'd received , and I don't think there was time to work out who would stab where in the brief time since they left the shieldhall. ..So, I think only the time of the attack was spur of the moment. The choreography is visible , they just didn't know they would be performing it quite so soon.


Even if they rehearsed beforehand , off-page, they couldn't have rehearsed in that environment , so their timing and cues could easily be off. (In a dance routine , this means people can bump into each other , may not meet where they're supposed to , lifts may be awkward, or not get off the ground at all, etc. ... and that's without members of the audience potentially getting in the way.)


And secondly ,as always, GRRM's use of language should be scrutinized.


Breakdown


Wick- He moves first and must be very nervous. The wound he inflicts is superficial . Though slightly wounded ,Jon disarms Wick on his second attempt. Wick's body laguage expresses it wasn't his idea.. It wasn't me = it wasn't my idea. He was "only following orders" ?

Jon's reactions in response to the first strike are quick , as they usually are. But when he can't draw Longclaw, he assumes his fingers have "grown stiff and clumsy" ( even though his exercise to prevent this has become habitual, and we've never seen it happen to him before ). It doesn't occur to Jon that someone might have tampered with his sword. ..His attempt to draw Longclaw does not go on for a long time at all, because Bowen wouldn't be hanging back , perhaps giving Jon time to succeed...


Bowen - Steps in front of Jon, and connects with a stab described as a "punch" . But when he "pulled" his hand away, the knife stayed put ..Jon wrenched it free..

If Bowen was just letting go of the knife , there would be no need to "pull his hand away" . The use of "pull" suggests that his intention was to pull out the knife ( perhaps ready for another stab).. His "pull" combined with Jon's "wrench" suggests the knife got caught on something. ...(Ringmail? ..caught on the way out , or the way in ?)

Where is that ringmail shirt ? .. How much boiled or studded leather or other layers is Jon wearing ? - We don't know, so we don't know how deep the wound went . Bowen "buried" the knife, but how much of it was buried in Jon , how much in layers of clothing ? The more shallow the wound , the less likelihood of serious damage. It may have pierced the muscle wall, but we don't know by how much, or if it cut any organs. We know it did cut , since the wound was "smoking" , and we know it went straight in ( punch) ... didn't slash , rip or tear, as far as we know ( and that's a good sign ). - But , if the knife had been covered in Jon's blood should it not be smoking, too ?

When Jon thinks "Stick them with the pointy end" , he can see the knife - this could mean that only the pointy end had blood on it.


3rd Attacker ... Left Hand Lew /Alf ? - Jon "falls to his knees" just after Bowen's "punch" (potentially , seconds or split seconds after). If Lew/Alf was already moving in for the attack (and it only makes sense that he would be), it would be very difficult to get a good angle on the strike. .. As he's attacking, the target suddenly drops - considerably lower than expected - as Jon falls to his knees. Whether stabbing underhand or overhand, there's a strong possibility of hitting the target with a fist (overhand) or forearm / elbow (underhand) rather than sticking Jon with "the pointy end".


Bowen's "punch" is actually a stab. Knowing the way GRRM likes to play with words, it's possible that the intended stab from the "third dagger", was in fact more of a punch.

Jon can't see this 3rd attacker , but he has just been struck at twice with knives , so he'd naturally assume it was a "third dagger" that " took him between the shoulder blades" His reaction, though, - he gave a grunt and fell face-first into the snow - is equally compatible with having the wind knocked out of him and being pushed forward as a result of the blow...And the phrase, "When the third dagger took him..." , doesn't actually tell us when.


The previous sentence was "Pain washed over him." If that was still occurring, which seems probable , Jon would be more easily pushed forward. But .. if he was wearing ringmail , even if the dagger connected, it would very possibly be deflected if it was coming at less than a direct angle.


That Jon thinks - Stick them with the pointy end. -is , I think , at least a hint to us to consider whether the individual pointy ends actually stuck.


4th Attacker - Never acted ,IMO . I think it's most likely that he either backed out or was stopped - because Jon doesn't see a fourth knife ( he's face first in the snow) and never felt a fourth knife ( though he was obviously expecting one) and we are still in Jon's thoughts.


Pain washed over Him..


A thin red slash marked the eastern horizon where the sun might soon appear. It reminded Selmy of the first blood welling from a wound. Often, even with a deep cut, the blood came before the pain. ..( The Queen's Hand , ADWD)


Jon's first wound was "a thin red slash", but we know it wasn't deep, it was only a graze. Blood "welled" between his fingers..but the first mention of pain comes with "pain washed over him", near he end of the scene. This must be the pain from Wick's slash ( or at least iclude it), so it has to tell us the whole attack was extremely quick and I don't trust that Wick, Bowen or the other suspected attackers (unpractised as they are) could have been as focused or accurate as they needed to be ,to get the job done in a fluid situation, taking place in the middle of chaos.


A thin red slash marked the eastern horizon where the sun might soon appear. Thin red slash = Wick's slash... the sun might soon appear = the sun son might rise .. Might ? Well, if the "son" (of Rhaegar / Ned) is like the "sun" , it can't be prevented from rising.


Only the cold...


Some people think this is where Jon dies . Some people think he loses consciousness , but it's possible he doesn't even do that. GRRM trails off with - "..." . Maybe this sticks out to me because , while I do that a lot , GRRM doesn't. Just quickly searching through ADWD, he really only uses it as a pause in someone's speech or thoughts, which he then promptly finishes off , or when one character is interrrupted by another.


Devilish as he can be , it may be that GRRM hasn't only left everything in mid-action , but in mid-sentence .. mid-thought. :D :D


Other Considerations


As noted, Jon's attackers are not primarily fighters.. but they seem to have been coached as to where each one should strike to make a potentially lethal hit . Here are some interesting tid-bits from The Sworn Sword :


Dunk and Ser Bennis are trying to train Ser Eustace's smallfolk for battle.. Ser Bennis gives instructions on where to strike to kill.." The belly and the throat are best, I find.".. "Right there's the heart , that will do the job as well. Trouble is, the ribs is in the way. The belly's nice and soft. Guttings slow, but certain.".. ..."Now if some fool goes and turns his back on you, put your point between his shoulderblades or through his kidney. That's here. They don't live long once you prick 'em in the kidney."



...and a bit farther on..


the recruits began practising their spear work as Bennis bellowed at them "Stick and twist and rip it free. Stick and twist and rip, but get the damned thing out! You'll be wanting it soon enough for the next one .."



Throat, belly and between the shoulder blades..Would a fourth knife have been planned for the kidney? Seems like a good bet... And notice all Jon's attackers avoid those pesky ribs in front of the heart...Have these inexperienced fighters also been instructed by a knight ?


I imagine knife work and spear work share some methods.The same reasoning ( get the damned thing out) would apply whether preparing for the next man , or the next stab. Bowen may also be trying (and failing) to "twist and rip". ...And a bit farther along in TSS, we're shown that..


even after practising, the trainees basically fall apart when Dunk tests their progress - armed with only a wooden sword, himself.



Our non-rangers might not think of it, but if they had a knightly instructor (and one who knew Jon's skills).. he might think it would be wise to interfere with Jon's sword ( not wood but Valyrian steel) ... just as insurance.


Four on One..


When Iron Emmett spied him, he raised a hand and combat ceased. “Lord Commander. How may we serve you?”

“With your three best.”

Emmett grinned. “Arron. Emrick. Jace.”


Jon has practiced against multiple opponents, so I don't think he'd be thrown by being attacked by 3 or 4 stewards. We've seen him take severe blows, and still manage to come back. When something does throw him , e.g. glamoured Mance , we see him analysing the situation as he goes ,so he won't be surprised twice.


Notably, we've seen his berserker-like strength and a sort of battle lust (triggered by anger) a number of times ... e.g. , lifting Thorne off his feet by the throat .. yanking the head-decorated spear out of the frozen ground ..or in his bout with Emmett in ASoS - he's losing and is about to yield , when one blow stuns him and manages to trigger an old anger. It ends by 2 men having to pull Jon off a dazed and beaten Emmett. Jon had not even heard him yield. ..The conspirators' sneak attack , which Jon must see as an underhanded betrayal - not just of himself , but of the NW and it's purpose - is bound to raise his ire, I would think.


As Jon whispers, "Ghost", is he spontaneously reaching for Ghost , trying to call to him .. or is it because he suddenly sense's Ghost's presence , as we've seen before ? ... Is Ghost already there ?


We've seen Summer lend strength to Bran and Jon possibly lend strength to Ghost when Ghost was injured by the eagle..will this sharing of strength come into effect ? Ghost was already angry, himself. Will this figure into the equation ?...


Lots of people have speculated that perhaps Mel went to free Ghost when she left the shieldhall. I suspect she'd be preoccupied by the claim of Stannis' death and be hurrying to try to check on that bit of news , but she might have gone past Jon's quarters , or she might have sent Devan ( mentioned earlier ) to open the door , even though he's afraid of Ghost.


Horse and Rory, who took over from Mully and Flea before the shieldhall, were with Jon ( I believe that left no-one outside Jon's door ). There are plenty of candidates that might have let Ghost out. ... One of my favourites would be feisty little Dryn. Jon made Dryn his page, but he hasn't been mentioned since. Dryn ought to have access to Jon's quarters , could have a number of reasons to be there, and could have purposely ( or unwittingly ) freed Ghost .


After steeping myself in this for months on end I realise just how much is ambiguous or outright misleading . With "Ghost," being Jon's last word in ADWD , I almost expect Jon's next chapter to open with , ..."to me! " , and to see Jon get up off the ground in true berserker form and rip that sword free of it's scabbard. I wouldn't have thought so on first reading, but now it's definitely a plausible possibility, IMO.


I think it's for Jon to actually lead those wildlings somewhere , not to have gained their loyalty and respect only to lose it immediately.. by being bested by the likes of Marsh & co.


I've long suspected Morna, the warrior witch might have some special skill with healing wounds. It was the daughter of a wise woman who once treated Mance, when he was suffering from really severe blood loss.


That's the best sense I can make of the attack for now, fully realising that there are so many characters whose movements are unaccounted for, that a radical re-assessment may be in order later on.

*********

Every time I pickup the books, I find things I haven't noticed before. Here are a few new thoughts. If the tasting of blood (another's ,or his own) is a trigger, I had pointed out on JiHT's thread (linked at the top) that if Ghost is on the scene and bites someone, Jon could taste the blood through him. But there's another possibility.. Since I believe the chapter ends with a pause ( "..." ) just after Jon whispers "Ghost," ... well, remember this, from Jon's previous chapter (letting Tormund in)... Jon peeled the glove off his burned hand, put two fingers in his mouth, and whistled. Ghost came racing from the gate...


Though Jon usually wears gloves, I now realise he may not be, during the attack. How could he feel blood welling between his fingers, if he was wearing gloves? He whispers Ghost's name. Suppose he's trying to call Ghost , but a whisper is the best he can manage, under the circumstances. Now if he should try to whistle for him and puts two fingers in his mouth, he's going to taste his own blood. I feel sure Jon does have a berserker mode,and this would be an effective and surprising place to have it surface.


And though something unexpected could always (dangerously) trigger that altered state, it seems to me that if Jon knew about tasting his own blood, that would be a way of exercising control, of accessing that state at advantageous moments , such as during battle.


There are a couple of other points I'd like to raise, but I'll save them for discussion going forward.

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First: :bowdown:




There are two scenes I would like to add that add to the idea of Jon fueled by rage or berserk mode. Not sure if they are useful or not.




1. GoT - I will just keep this short. Ned slamming LF into the wall outside of the brothel in KL. (the show has him mention "Starks slow of mind quick to anger", so I will leave that out.). But at the mere thought of a joke about his wife, Ned is about ready to disembowel LF.




2. GoT- After Dany stops the rape and collects the women as her own.



Dany turned on him angrily, "The Dragon feeds on horse and sheep alike."



Khal Drogo smiled. "See how fierce she grows!" he said. "It is my son inside her, the stallion who mounts the world, filling her with his fire.




This is interesting and while it regards Dany, there is something there of a parallel I think. Inside Dany is her child, the source of her fury according to KD.



Within Jon is something he is not aware of, Dragon blood. If you take Drogo's statement and turn it on its head for Jon, we can see KD stating "see that is the dragon blood boiling inside jon". I am not entirely sure if this fits or if it can be tied to jon.




It is an interesting parallel I found with regards to Dany having something inside of her that she had not yet met. In the same way, Jon has something in him that he has not "yet met or become aware of". I also have to wonder (based on a few points you made) that the smoking would signifies his rage beginning to boil just before the scene ends.





I have to get busy, but I have more to add to this later.



Good stuff though. I like the pointy end part, I never thought of that.


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First: :bowdown:

There are two scenes I would like to add that add to the idea of Jon fueled by rage or berserk mode. Not sure if they are useful or not.

1. GoT - I will just keep this short. Ned slamming LF into the wall outside of the brothel in KL. (the show has him mention "Starks slow of mind quick to anger", so I will leave that out.). But at the mere thought of a joke about his wife, Ned is about ready to disembowel LF.

2. GoT- After Dany stops the rape and collects the women as her own.

Dany turned on him angrily, "The Dragon feeds on horse and sheep alike."

Khal Drogo smiled. "See how fierce she grows!" he said. "It is my son inside her, the stallion who mounts the world, filling her with his fire.

This is interesting and while it regards Dany, there is something there of a parallel I think. Inside Dany is her child, the source of her fury according to KD.

Within Jon is something he is not aware of, Dragon blood. If you take Drogo's statement and turn it on its head for Jon, we can see KD stating "see that is the dragon blood boiling inside jon". I am not entirely sure if this fits or if it can be tied to jon.

It is an interesting parallel I found with regards to Dany having something inside of her that she had not yet met. In the same way, Jon has something in him that he has not "yet met or become aware of". I also have to wonder (based on a few points you made) that the smoking would signifies his rage beginning to boil just before the scene ends.

I have to get busy, but I have more to add to this later.

Good stuff though. I like the pointy end part, I never thought of that.

It is an interesting parallel between Jon and Dany, but what would that have to do with Ned? I assume you mean to point to the heritage they share and their mutual propensity to get angry. But wouldn't it only be a parallel if their berserker mode was a Targ. trait?

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LordBR - That is why I said I am not sure how useful it would be. You're right though. I used the Ned parallel to suggest that the little thing set Ned off. Bemused has shown Jon being set off in certain circumstances, yet in this one he is rather docile as his life hangs in the balance. It would seem that Jon would lose his mind and attack with a greater fury.



Also Jon has shown on numerous occasions to allow his temper to flare, which is probably why I thought of Ned's scene to begin with.

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First a little preamble :

I've recently been taking part in discusssion on JonisHenryTudor's thread ... http://asoiaf.westeros.org/index.php/topic/130177-why-i-believe-jon-is-not-in-need-of-resurrectionwarging/

There's plenty of interesting discussion there, but I wanted to focus on this one possibiblity in a bit more depth and I didn't want to take the whole thread sideways..

Jon The Berserker

When my adult sons and I were reading ASoS at about the same time , and comparing our thoughts, we joked ...What about Jon and Iron Emmett? ...Jon was a bit of a berserker there, wasn't he ?.. but I had no idea I'd later come to consider it a genuine possibility.

When it came to Jon's "death" scene, after the initial shock and trying to reconcile it with the way the story seemed to be tending, and any number of ambiguities.. I soon decided he couldn't be dead. I also discarded the idea that he was dead, but would be resurrected by Mel ... always feeling that if GRRM was telling us anything about resurrection, it was that it may be possible, but it should be avoided ...Then too, I felt that considering Jon's still growing affiliation with the old gods, his healing should/would come by way of wildling medicine, probably under the auspices of Morna and Val. I thought maybe a short coma (a day or two) or a deep fever dream (if he was very seriously wounded) could break down his final warging barriers.

Then in the process of researching and considering other questions, the "berserker" possibility began to emerge. It's debatable how much it has to do with Jon's "wolf blood" and/or his "blood of the dragon"..but something is definitely going on.

GRRM has said here.. http://www.westeros.org/Citadel/SSM/Entry/Quite_a_Few_Questions .. and elswhere, that all the Stark *siblings* are wargs "to a greater or lesser degree, but the amount of control varies widely." ..Besides this , I feel there's also an individuality of expression and in abilities that grows out of the pairing of particular wolves with particular humans... that goes beyond control. E.G. , Arya's unusually brave, and Nymeria has no fear of men. Does one increase this quality in the other ..and if so, which?

Both Jon and Robb display unusual strength or stamina.. E.G.,Robb slings the carcass of an elk onto his horse by himself.. and perhaps the fact that he can force himself to his feet before Roose delivers his death blow. .. For Jon there's his ride from Queenscrown to Castle Black and when the heads of the three rangers are delivered outside the gate ... “The ground is half-frozen. It must have taken the wildlings half the night to drive the spears so deep..." (Bowen Marsh) ... followed by.. Jon Snow grasped the spear that bore Garth Greyfeather’s head and wrenched it violently from the ground. “Pull down the other two,” he commanded, and four of the crows hurried to obey. ...ADWD ..(two men apiece for the other two spears)

But we never see Robb fly into the sort of blind fighting rage that Jon displays on three occasions - twice against Thorne and once against Iron Emmett.

In both Jon's attacks on Thorne, he's fairly unstoppable, but he's aware of people around him trying to hold him back, while it's happening..

(Thorne 1) ... Jon had vaulted onto the table, dagger in his hand. Pyp made a grab for him, but he wrenched his leg away, ***** ..but Sam threw himself between them and before Jon could get around him, Pyp was on his back clinging like a monkey, and Grenn was grabbing his arm while Toad wrenched the knife from his fingers. ...AGoT

(Thorne 2) ... Jon yanked away and grabbed the knight by the throat with such ferocity that he lifted him off the floor. He would have throttled him if the Eastwatch men had not pulled him off. ...ASoS

However, when Jon fights Emmett, there are differences. ... There's a blow that stuns or shocks him and Jon's awareness is shunted back to his and Robb's childhood "Lord of Winterfell" game, followed by (or simultaneous with) the taste of blood.. He's unaware of what happens next, until he begins to come out of it. He sees only the result of his attack.. and there's still a residue of the fury that was fueling him, even after he leaves the scene.

He was almost ready to lower his blade and call a halt when Emmett feinted low and came in over his shield with a savage forehand slash that caught Jon on the temple. He staggered, his helm and head both ringing from the force of the blow. For half a heartbeat the world beyond his eyeslit was a blur. -----

----- Jon could taste blood in his mouth, from the blow he’d taken. ---

--- In the end Halder and Horse had to pull him away from Iron Emmett, one man on either arm. The ranger sat on the ground dazed, his shield half in splinters, the visor of his helm knocked askew, and his sword six yards away. “Jon, enough,” Halder was shouting, “he’s down, you disarmed him. Enough!”

No. Not enough. Never enough. Jon let his sword drop.

There's a bit of banter as scene winds down, then..

Jon wrenched free of his friends and retreated to the armory, alone. His ears were still ringing from the blow Emmett had dealt him. He sat on the bench and buried his head in his hands. Why am I so angry? he asked himself, but it was a stupid question. Lord of Winterfell. I could be the Lord of Winterfell. My father’s heir.

I don't think it's a stupid question, and I don't think Jon comes up with the full answer.. 'His ears were still ringing from the blow Emmett had dealt him." .. He's still affected by what triggered his attack, physically - and I think, emotionally, too.

Moving ahead to ADWD, we come across Jon's dream before letting Tormund's people through the wall, the one that is often seen as proof that he is Azor Ahai.. or psychological proof that he still has ambitions of ruling Winterfell , and / or deep down feelings of guilt / resentment over Robb, guilt over Ygritte... and so on. Well, dreams can work on many levels at the same time, so I won't say none of those interpretations hold any water.

I've gradually come to see it as a revelation of Jon's nature, and perhaps a portent of his future (whatever other interpretations might also work).. Here's the dream

That night he dreamt of wildlings howling from the woods, advancing to the moan of warhorns and the roll of drums. Boom DOOM boom DOOM boom DOOM came the sound, a thousand hearts with a single beat. Some had spears and some had bows and some had axes. Others rode on chariots made of bones, drawn by teams of dogs as big as ponies. Giants lumbered amongst them, forty feet tall, with mauls the size of oak trees.

“Stand fast,” Jon Snow called. “Throw them back.” He stood atop the Wall, alone. “Flame,” he cried, “feed them flame,” but there was no one to pay heed.

They are all gone. They have abandoned me.

Burning shafts hissed upward, trailing tongues of fire. Scarecrow brothers tumbled down, black cloaks ablaze. “Snow,” an eagle cried, as foemen scuttled up the ice like spiders. Jon was armored in black ice, but his blade burned red in his fist. As the dead men reached the top of the Wall he sent them down to die again. He slew a greybeard and a beardless boy, a giant, a gaunt man with filed teeth, a girl with thick red hair. Too late he recognized Ygritte. She was gone as quick as she’d appeared.

The world dissolved into a red mist. Jon stabbed and slashed and cut. He hacked down Donal Noye and gutted Deaf Dick Follard. Qhorin Halfhand stumbled to his knees, trying in vain to staunch the flow of blood from his neck. “I am the Lord of Winterfell,” Jon screamed. It was Robb before him now, his hair wet with melting snow. Longclaw took his head off. Then a gnarled hand seized Jon roughly by the shoulder. He whirled …

… and woke with a raven pecking at his chest. “Snow,” the bird cried.

The scene is one of battle, containing elements of the biggest battle Jon had been in to date, Mance's attack on the Wall ... "They are all gone. They have abandoned me." ... Just as Bowen effectively abandoned Castle Black at the time of the real life battle, Jon again feels abandoned, feels the loss of officers of reason that have died or gone missing, as he articulates in his last chapter, and other places ... A lord needed men about him he could rely upon for honest counsel. Marsh and Yarwyck were no lickspittles, and that was to the good … but they were seldom any help either. More and more, he found he knew what they would say before he asked them.

He feels alone in the battle he must face. ..At first he sees the foe as wildlings, but when we come to "foemen scuttled up the ice like spiders" and "As the dead men reached the top of the Wall he sent them down to die again." .. we naturally think of Others, and wights.

At first the foes he kills are just random individuals , until we come to " a girl with thick red hair. Too late he recognized Ygritte. She was gone as quick as she’d appeared." ... He sees her only for an instant, and.. " The world dissolved into a red mist. Jon stabbed and slashed and cut. " To my mind, recognising Ygritte and the red mist are virtually simultaneous .From this point on, all his victims are people he knew, respected or loved...but that he didn't kill, except for Qhorin. (I think GRRM includes Qhorin to cloud the issue.)

Leaving that aside for a moment and looking at Jon... "Jon was armored in black ice, but his blade burned red in his fist."..Black = the Night's Watch , Ice = the Wall itself. The Wall and the Watch ( and whatever spells originally bound them) are Jon's armour, but I think it goes even deepr than that. Whatever magic is in the Wall is probably also present in the Stark bloodline.For me, this is the meaning of .. "Jon Snow could see his own reflection dimly inside the icy walls." .. ADWD

Jon has "dragon blood" and more than once, he likens the wall to a serpent or ice dragon. Again, he and the Wall reflect each other. But what about ".. his blade burned red in his fist"? .. Just for a moment, let's ignore whether Longclaw is Lightbringer, or whether Jon will find or forge Lightbringer. Forget the prophecy, for now..

“When your dragons were small they were a wonder. Grown, they are death and devastation, a flaming sword above the world.... Xaro Xoan Daxos to Dany .. ADWD

In his dream, Jon is standing on the Wall ,700 ft. "above the world". He is dealing out death and devastation. He is a "dragon". In that moment, he is a flaming sword above the world. (As well as "the sword in the darkness")

From this perspective, the dream delivers some home truths about Jon and they would still be true, no matter how many characters might fit the AA prophecy, and no matter if the prophecy turns out to be accurate or false.

Coming back to the killing in the dream, we see that when "the world disolves into a red mist" Jon kills indiscriminately, so look out. I think we are meant to connect the dream to his bout with Emmett, because he screams "I AM the lord of Winterfell".. In ASoS, Jon had been pondering Stannis' offer. Emmett's blow shocked that memory from his childhood into his mind, and Jon's consequent attack was certainly indiscriminate, judging by Emmett's sad condition afterwards. (Imagine if they had been using edged steel.)

We see that Jon can be shocked into battle frenzy and the dream shows us that it can also be brought on just by the rhythm of battle. I think tasting blood is also important (or perhaps, his own blood and the magic it contains?) ... I have a new thought on that which I'll put at the end.

Of course this is all tied in with the events of the assassination attempt, itself, which I've gone into at length on many threads. If anyone wants to dive into that, I'm putting the breakdown I posted in the Jon Re-read threads here, in green. (Skip past if your brain is full. I tried to put this section in spoilers, but couldn't get it to take).

A Foreshadowing and The Attack

From the scene between Jon and Sam (AFfC ), when the raven pecked through Sam's glove :

“Did that wretch break the skin?”

Sam eased the books down and peeled off his glove. “He did.” He felt faint. “I’m bleeding.”

“We all shed our blood for the Watch. Wear thicker gloves.”

In that same scene, as Sam enters Jon's quarters - ... he made his way past the forge with its anvil and bellows. A shirt of ringmail rested on his (Jon's) workbench, half-completed.

This scene raises some questions ... Does it foreshadow the assassination attempt on Jon , and does it hint at hidden information? - I think we can draw a definite parallel. For openers, Jon's attackers certainly can be described as "wretches" .

Is Sam hurt ? - Yes , but not seriously. He's bleeding ,and he "feels faint" ( just as Jon seems to later, when pain washes over him ) ... Sam handles ravens all the time , and apparently has a way with them. Mormont's raven can be a nuisance , but is generally regarded affectionately by those who come in close contact with it. - e.g. while Jon calls it a wretch ,or a thief , or swats at it , he also lets it read over his shoulder, ;) and strokes it's feathers. - Sam may be equally wounded ( if not moreso ) by the fact the bird "turned on him". ... Will this prove to be similar to the attack on Jon? ..Probably not as much as we would like , but I'm betting - to a degree - yes.

Does Jon go on to heed his own advice to "wear thicker gloves" ? .. Was that Chekov's shirt of ringmail on his workbench ? .. Although he doesn't seem to expect Marsh to go as far as attacking him , he must have felt vulnerable going to address the wildlings ( Some had earlier accepted his terms with cold, dead eyes , while fingering their sword hilts.).. He couldn't be certain he'd win them all over, and from some of them, violence might be expected , after hearing the letter .. more so than from Bowen .

I think it's reasonable to assume Jon would take extra precautions in his attire . The following playful banter between Jon and Val says it would only be common sense..

“This queen of yours must be fierce if the legs of grown men give out beneath them when they meet her. Should I have dressed in mail instead of wool and fur? These clothes were given to me by Dalla, I would sooner not get bloodstains all over them.”

“If words drew blood, you might have cause to fear. I think your clothes are safe enough, my

lady.”

I suspect Jon may have been wearing mail during all the scenes where he's put himself at risk since the shirt was mentioned ; places where he knew he could be facing more than mere words ... e.g. Mole's town, the vows at the grove, Tormund's camp, perhaps the meeting atop the wall, bringing in Tormund's people, and now in the shieldhall.

We All Make Assumptions , Including Jon

Jon notices Bowen with Wick, Lew and Alf in the shieldhall. When he sees Wick and Bowen attack , he'd naturally assume that the other two would follow suit ..That's 4, count 'em, 4 knives that he'd be expecting. This might explain the ambiguous "he never felt the fourth knife". It was expected, but perhaps never came.. Jon may make other assumptions as well and since we're reading his POV , we're tempted to do the same. Here's the scene :

When Wick Whittlestick slashed at his throat, the word turned into a grunt. Jon twisted from the knife, just enough so it barely grazed his skin. He cut me. When he put his hand to the side of his neck, blood welled between his fingers. “Why?”

“For the Watch.” Wick slashed at him again. This time Jon caught his wrist and bent his arm back until he dropped the dagger. The gangling steward backed away, his hands upraised as if to say, Not me, it was not me. Men were screaming. Jon reached for Longclaw, but his fingers had grown stiff and clumsy. Somehow he could not seem to get the sword free of its scabbard.

Then Bowen Marsh stood there before him, tears running down his cheeks. “For the Watch.” He punched Jon in the belly. When he pulled his hand away, the dagger stayed where he had buried it.

Jon fell to his knees. He found the dagger’s hilt and wrenched it free. In the cold night air the

wound was smoking. “Ghost,” he whispered. Pain washed over him. Stick them with the pointy end.

When the third dagger took him between the shoulder blades, he gave a grunt and fell face-first into the snow. He never felt the fourth knife. Only the cold …

Firstly , I want to point out that it seems longer when we read the description than if we were watching the action take place, so there may be very little time between individual strikes. Some things that are described separately or consecutively ( a word , a thought , a feeling, a movement) can overlap , or even happen completely simultaneously.( e.g. - “Ghost,” he whispered. Pain washed over him.) .. Also , Jon may be experiencing that phenomenon where things seem to happen in slow motion in times of crisis... The whole attack above would probably play out in no more than 30 seconds , and that might be generous.

When I count these things out in my head matching movement to "one elephant , two elephant", I go at a methodical pace so as to err on the side of caution. ( Yes, that's how obsessed I am ). ..As a former dancer (in another century), piecing the choreography of the scene together has always intrigued me.

And speaking of choreography , Bowen & co seem to have previously blocked out who would strike where ( we see 3 potentially lethal locations).. They had their script ready (For the watch ) and each struck at a separate kill point. ..They couldn't have predicted Jon's final plan or the reception he'd received , and I don't think there was time to work out who would stab where in the brief time since they left the shieldhall. ..So, I think only the time of the attack was spur of the moment. The choreography is visible , they just didn't know they would be performing it quite so soon.

Even if they rehearsed beforehand , off-page, they couldn't have rehearsed in that environment , so their timing and cues could easily be off. (In a dance routine , this means people can bump into each other , may not meet where they're supposed to , lifts may be awkward, or not get off the ground at all, etc. ... and that's without members of the audience potentially getting in the way.)

And secondly ,as always, GRRM's use of language should be scrutinized.

Breakdown

Wick- He moves first and must be very nervous. The wound he inflicts is superficial . Though slightly wounded ,Jon disarms Wick on his second attempt. Wick's body laguage expresses it wasn't his idea.. It wasn't me = it wasn't my idea. He was "only following orders" ?

Jon's reactions in response to the first strike are quick , as they usually are. But when he can't draw Longclaw, he assumes his fingers have "grown stiff and clumsy" ( even though his exercise to prevent this has become habitual, and we've never seen it happen to him before ). It doesn't occur to Jon that someone might have tampered with his sword. ..His attempt to draw Longclaw does not go on for a long time at all, because Bowen wouldn't be hanging back , perhaps giving Jon time to succeed...

Bowen - Steps in front of Jon, and connects with a stab described as a "punch" . But when he "pulled" his hand away, the knife stayed put ..Jon wrenched it free..

If Bowen was just letting go of the knife , there would be no need to "pull his hand away" . The use of "pull" suggests that his intention was to pull out the knife ( perhaps ready for another stab).. His "pull" combined with Jon's "wrench" suggests the knife got caught on something. ...(Ringmail? ..caught on the way out , or the way in ?)

Where is that ringmail shirt ? .. How much boiled or studded leather or other layers is Jon wearing ? - We don't know, so we don't know how deep the wound went . Bowen "buried" the knife, but how much of it was buried in Jon , how much in layers of clothing ? The more shallow the wound , the less likelihood of serious damage. It may have pierced the muscle wall, but we don't know by how much, or if it cut any organs. We know it did cut , since the wound was "smoking" , and we know it went straight in ( punch) ... didn't slash , rip or tear, as far as we know ( and that's a good sign ). - But , if the knife had been covered in Jon's blood should it not be smoking, too ?

When Jon thinks "Stick them with the pointy end" , he can see the knife - this could mean that only the pointy end had blood on it.

3rd Attacker ... Left Hand Lew /Alf ? - Jon "falls to his knees" just after Bowen's "punch" (potentially , seconds or split seconds after). If Lew/Alf was already moving in for the attack (and it only makes sense that he would be), it would be very difficult to get a good angle on the strike. .. As he's attacking, the target suddenly drops - considerably lower than expected - as Jon falls to his knees. Whether stabbing underhand or overhand, there's a strong possibility of hitting the target with a fist (overhand) or forearm / elbow (underhand) rather than sticking Jon with "the pointy end".

Bowen's "punch" is actually a stab. Knowing the way GRRM likes to play with words, it's possible that the intended stab from the "third dagger", was in fact more of a punch.

Jon can't see this 3rd attacker , but he has just been struck at twice with knives , so he'd naturally assume it was a "third dagger" that " took him between the shoulder blades" His reaction, though, - he gave a grunt and fell face-first into the snow - is equally compatible with having the wind knocked out of him and being pushed forward as a result of the blow...And the phrase, "When the third dagger took him..." , doesn't actually tell us when.

The previous sentence was "Pain washed over him." If that was still occurring, which seems probable , Jon would be more easily pushed forward. But .. if he was wearing ringmail , even if the dagger connected, it would very possibly be deflected if it was coming at less than a direct angle.

That Jon thinks - Stick them with the pointy end. -is , I think , at least a hint to us to consider whether the individual pointy ends actually stuck.

4th Attacker - Never acted ,IMO . I think it's most likely that he either backed out or was stopped - because Jon doesn't see a fourth knife ( he's face first in the snow) and never felt a fourth knife ( though he was obviously expecting one) and we are still in Jon's thoughts.

Pain washed over Him..

A thin red slash marked the eastern horizon where the sun might soon appear. It reminded Selmy of the first blood welling from a wound. Often, even with a deep cut, the blood came before the pain. ..( The Queen's Hand , ADWD)

Jon's first wound was "a thin red slash", but we know it wasn't deep, it was only a graze. Blood "welled" between his fingers..but the first mention of pain comes with "pain washed over him", near he end of the scene. This must be the pain from Wick's slash ( or at least iclude it), so it has to tell us the whole attack was extremely quick and I don't trust that Wick, Bowen or the other suspected attackers (unpractised as they are) could have been as focused or accurate as they needed to be ,to get the job done in a fluid situation, taking place in the middle of chaos.

A thin red slash marked the eastern horizon where the sun might soon appear. Thin red slash = Wick's slash... the sun might soon appear = the sun son might rise .. Might ? Well, if the "son" (of Rhaegar / Ned) is like the "sun" , it can't be prevented from rising.

Only the cold...

Some people think this is where Jon dies . Some people think he loses consciousness , but it's possible he doesn't even do that. GRRM trails off with - "..." . Maybe this sticks out to me because , while I do that a lot , GRRM doesn't. Just quickly searching through ADWD, he really only uses it as a pause in someone's speech or thoughts, which he then promptly finishes off , or when one character is interrrupted by another.

Devilish as he can be , it may be that GRRM hasn't only left everything in mid-action , but in mid-sentence .. mid-thought. :D :D

Other Considerations

As noted, Jon's attackers are not primarily fighters.. but they seem to have been coached as to where each one should strike to make a potentially lethal hit . Here are some interesting tid-bits from The Sworn Sword :

Dunk and Ser Bennis are trying to train Ser Eustace's smallfolk for battle.. Ser Bennis gives instructions on where to strike to kill.." The belly and the throat are best, I find.".. "Right there's the heart , that will do the job as well. Trouble is, the ribs is in the way. The belly's nice and soft. Guttings slow, but certain.".. ..."Now if some fool goes and turns his back on you, put your point between his shoulderblades or through his kidney. That's here. They don't live long once you prick 'em in the kidney."

...and a bit farther on..

the recruits began practising their spear work as Bennis bellowed at them "Stick and twist and rip it free. Stick and twist and rip, but get the damned thing out! You'll be wanting it soon enough for the next one .."

Throat, belly and between the shoulder blades..Would a fourth knife have been planned for the kidney? Seems like a good bet... And notice all Jon's attackers avoid those pesky ribs in front of the heart...Have these inexperienced fighters also been instructed by a knight ?

I imagine knife work and spear work share some methods.The same reasoning ( get the damned thing out) would apply whether preparing for the next man , or the next stab. Bowen may also be trying (and failing) to "twist and rip". ...And a bit farther along in TSS, we're shown that..

even after practising, the trainees basically fall apart when Dunk tests their progress - armed with only a wooden sword, himself.

Our non-rangers might not think of it, but if they had a knightly instructor (and one who knew Jon's skills).. he might think it would be wise to interfere with Jon's sword ( not wood but Valyrian steel) ... just as insurance.

Four on One..

When Iron Emmett spied him, he raised a hand and combat ceased. “Lord Commander. How may we serve you?”

“With your three best.”

Emmett grinned. “Arron. Emrick. Jace.”

Jon has practiced against multiple opponents, so I don't think he'd be thrown by being attacked by 3 or 4 stewards. We've seen him take severe blows, and still manage to come back. When something does throw him , e.g. glamoured Mance , we see him analysing the situation as he goes ,so he won't be surprised twice.

Notably, we've seen his berserker-like strength and a sort of battle lust (triggered by anger) a number of times ... e.g. , lifting Thorne off his feet by the throat .. yanking the head-decorated spear out of the frozen ground ..or in his bout with Emmett in ASoS - he's losing and is about to yield , when one blow stuns him and manages to trigger an old anger. It ends by 2 men having to pull Jon off a dazed and beaten Emmett. Jon had not even heard him yield. ..The conspirators' sneak attack , which Jon must see as an underhanded betrayal - not just of himself , but of the NW and it's purpose - is bound to raise his ire, I would think.

As Jon whispers, "Ghost", is he spontaneously reaching for Ghost , trying to call to him .. or is it because he suddenly sense's Ghost's presence , as we've seen before ? ... Is Ghost already there ?

We've seen Summer lend strength to Bran and Jon possibly lend strength to Ghost when Ghost was injured by the eagle..will this sharing of strength come into effect ? Ghost was already angry, himself. Will this figure into the equation ?...

Lots of people have speculated that perhaps Mel went to free Ghost when she left the shieldhall. I suspect she'd be preoccupied by the claim of Stannis' death and be hurrying to try to check on that bit of news , but she might have gone past Jon's quarters , or she might have sent Devan ( mentioned earlier ) to open the door , even though he's afraid of Ghost.

Horse and Rory, who took over from Mully and Flea before the shieldhall, were with Jon ( I believe that left no-one outside Jon's door ). There are plenty of candidates that might have let Ghost out. ... One of my favourites would be feisty little Dryn. Jon made Dryn his page, but he hasn't been mentioned since. Dryn ought to have access to Jon's quarters , could have a number of reasons to be there, and could have purposely ( or unwittingly ) freed Ghost .

After steeping myself in this for months on end I realise just how much is ambiguous or outright misleading . With "Ghost," being Jon's last word in ADWD , I almost expect Jon's next chapter to open with , ..."to me! " , and to see Jon get up off the ground in true berserker form and rip that sword free of it's scabbard. I wouldn't have thought so on first reading, but now it's definitely a plausible possibility, IMO.

I think it's for Jon to actually lead those wildlings somewhere , not to have gained their loyalty and respect only to lose it immediately.. by being bested by the likes of Marsh & co.

I've long suspected Morna, the warrior witch might have some special skill with healing wounds. It was the daughter of a wise woman who once treated Mance, when he was suffering from really severe blood loss.

That's the best sense I can make of the attack for now, fully realising that there are so many characters whose movements are unaccounted for, that a radical re-assessment may be in order later on.

*********

Every time I pickup the books, I find things I haven't noticed before. Here are a few new thoughts. If the tasting of blood (another's ,or his own) is a trigger, I had pointed out on JiHT's thread (linked at the top) that if Ghost is on the scene and bites someone, Jon could taste the blood through him. But there's another possibility.. Since I believe the chapter ends with a pause ( "..." ) just after Jon whispers "Ghost," ... well, remember this, from Jon's previous chapter (letting Tormund in)... Jon peeled the glove off his burned hand, put two fingers in his mouth, and whistled. Ghost came racing from the gate...

Though Jon usually wears gloves, I now realise he may not be, during the attack. How could he feel blood welling between his fingers, if he was wearing gloves? He whispers Ghost's name. Suppose he's trying to call Ghost , but a whisper is the best he can manage, under the circumstances. Now if he should try to whistle for him and puts two fingers in his mouth, he's going to taste his own blood. I feel sure Jon does have a berserker mode,and this would be an effective and surprising place to have it surface.

And though something unexpected could always (dangerously) trigger that altered state, it seems to me that if Jon knew about tasting his own blood, that would be a way of exercising control, of accessing that state at advantageous moments , such as during battle.

There are a couple of other points I'd like to raise, but I'll save them for discussion going forward.

Very impressive and interesting!!!! I think I read your post over the course of a good hour because it kept triggering ideas, so I had to go back and write it down lol.

But the only spin I'd like to offer is that the reason Jon's hand was stiff and clumsy wasn't because someone sabotaged his sword or that it was from the burn, but rather Bloodraven manipulating the situation (like he's done throughout the series). I know it's not a new theory and I have my own thoughts as to why but it gets rather long winded lol. I'll post if someone's interested.

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LordBR - That is why I said I am not sure how useful it would be. You're right though. I used the Ned parallel to suggest that the little thing set Ned off. Bemused has shown Jon being set off in certain circumstances, yet in this one he is rather docile as his life hangs in the balance. It would seem that Jon would lose his mind and attack with a greater fury.

Also Jon has shown on numerous occasions to allow his temper to flare, which is probably why I thought of Ned's scene to begin with.

Gotcha! I agree, I don't think that there's any single trigger that sets Jon off, and he does seem way more confused than he was pissed off in that last scene. My perception of the whole berserker thing is that it's a Stark trait and not a Targ. one (Targs prone to madness, Starks prone to "wolf's blood" tempers). And I don't think its fair say that he's let his temper flare numerous times in the series, I think he's exercised a lot of self control for a Stark. The only time I can think of where Jon lost his temper unjustly was when he went ape shit on Iron Emmett.

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You have made some interesting points, but there are a couple of issues I have with this theory:



1) Tampering with Longclaw: Impossible, Ned Stark learned his sons to take care of their own weapons. I would be greatly surpised if anyone but Jon handled Longclaw. Who would have sabotaged it in your theory?



2) That mailshirt is another thing that isn't very convincing imo. For one thing, I always assumed that he was wearing one, without actually looking at the mailshirt in his quarters. Like, the NW are a military order and the watch can be attacked at all time. Some form of protection, like mail, is probably worn.



3) Even with the mailshirt, it's not at all strange that Jon's wound would be deep. I have always read that mail is more a defense against cuts and slash, but a straight-up trust is something different. Especially since Mance and his fellow assassins probably didn't just raid the kitchen for knives to stab Jon with it. They probably used their own daggers, which they could also use in a combat situation to push through



4) This is a semi-canon thing at best but, on the show the little kid is going to stab Jon. I can't say that I believe the show will have the guts to have Kit Harington carve his way through the attackers, one of which is a little boy.



5) There is also just all that set-up. Varamyr's prologue, the resurrection of Berric and Catelyn by a Red Priest, the possible candidates for a sacrifice in the form of Theon and Shireen, the ice cells, those are all clues building towards the resurrection angle. Especially since most people see Jon's resurrection as a combination of a fire and ice ritual. Mel does her thing and accidentally or intentionally heals his body, while Bran leads Jon's mind - protected inside Ghost - back into his healed body. Thus, his reanimation is the result of both ice and fire.



I guess what I'm saying is that I don't really see it. At least not in a scenario where Jon doesn't end up dead or so close to dead that it doesn't really matter. GRRM is definitely building up to something with the berserker thing and I could see Jon coming back and butchering the assassins, especially since he might have allowed Ghost to take over and that would be all anger, madness and ferocity. At the end of that fight Jon would still go down and be dead in my opinion.


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GRRM foreshadowed something big in AGOT with Jon, not just R+L=J.



They descended to the yard in silence. Outside, Jon looked up at the Wall shining in the sun, the melting ice creeping down its side in a hundred thin fingers. Jon’s rage was such that he would have smashed it all in an instant, and the world be damned.



For Jon to be that 'balance', he will play a big role in taking down the Wall.


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GRRM foreshadowed something big in AGOT with Jon, not just R+L=J.

They descended to the yard in silence. Outside, Jon looked up at the Wall shining in the sun, the melting ice creeping down its side in a hundred thin fingers. Jon’s rage was such that he would have smashed it all in an instant, and the world be damned.

For Jon to be that 'balance', he will play a big role in taking down the Wall.

Interesting snag.

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<snip>

Another great essay, Bemused! :bowdown:

"Waking the dragon" has several meanings in the series, and I like the idea that Bowen Marsh and Co. may manage to "wake the dragon" in Jon in more ways than one.

The "taste of blood" detail is fascinating...

After reading your essay I was amusing myself by reading parts of The Mystery Knight, where a dragon is "hatched", though not in a way the characters would have expected.

I'm not saying that this is necessarily relevant (and Dunk is no dragon), but I found some interesting phrases here:

The scene is the fight between Dunk and Black Tom:

Black Tom showed his teeth in a hard grin. "I saw him try to joust."

"I am better with a sword," Dunk warned him.

For a while it seems Dunk will lose. Egg (i.e. the dragon) urges him on:

Get him, ser," he heard Egg call. "Get him, get him, he's right there." The taste of blood was in Dunk's mouth, and worse, his wound had opened once again. A wave of dizziness washed over him.

Dunk finally attacks, smashing Tom with his shield "using his size and strength", and in the end he uses his sword.

"I told you." Dunk stabbed him through the throat. "I'm better with a sword."

This "better with a sword" phrase, repeated here, reminds me of Jon boasting to Benjen in AGoT:

"Robb is a stronger lance than I am, but I'm the better sword."

While the two phrases are not exactly the same, both seem to compare jousting (lance) with serious fight (sword). Dunk was defeated in the jousting, but he won when it came to the real fight (sword), because he was better at that (and perhaps because he was more motivated...). Jon is a better sword than Robb, so perhaps it suggests it may be a bit more difficult to assassinate him. At the moment he can't use his sword, because "his fingers had grown stiff and clumsy". Similarly, Dunk's arm is wounded, and he doesn't seem to have much use of his sword until the end of the fight:

Then he swung the shield aside and slashed out with his longsword.

Perhaps Jon will eventually do that, too, as you suggest.

Before using his sword, Dunk practically fights with his shield though. While Jon may be wearing ringmail, he obviously is not carrying a shield, so there the parallel ends. Unless...

"Oak and iron guard me well, or else I'm dead and doomed to hell," Dunk thought before he remembered that his shield was made of pine.

Jon may have the iron, but where is the oak, i.e. the shield? Well, he has just given a castle called Oakenshield to Tormund Giantsbane as his seat. (I have always thought it is another nod to Tolkien, but it may have some extra layers of meaning). What if the wildlings become Jon's shield and "guard him well" until he is able to use Longclaw? I know they are at the moment in the Shieldhall (hm, Shieldhall), getting drunk, but still...

Another "shield" could be Ghost, Jon's white-clad Kingsguard, not a shield of oak or pine but of weirwood.

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I'd be lying if I said the idea of my third favorite character, a stoic man, roaring with world shattering bloodlust and bleeding somewhat from a number of wounds and swinging his magic sword with one-hand in a blind rage sending geysers of his assailants blood into the crowds wasn't appeals.


I figure it's true, but even if it isn't it is fun to play with.


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Julia H.. Those are terrific nuggets .. I particularly love Oakenshield (and what you have to say about it) because it resonates with some things I had to leave out of the OP in an effort to not go on forever ;)


I only really realized while pulling this together that if we continue reading on a bit following the Iron Emmett scene , we find what may be a foreshadowing of the aftermath of the assassination attempt and for me, identification of its originators as well.


{Aside: For those who don't already know, I'm firmly convinced that Alliser Thorne is secretly back at Castle Black.. hiding in the wormways. (There are clues to support this) I see signs of his "fine Italian hand" (as my mother would say) at work in the assassination and (partially) in the pink letter.... That is a whole intricate puzzle of it's own, so I won't expand here .. but will try to provide links (later) for those who are interested.}


So, following Jon's bout with Emmett, he retreats to his quarters..("Why am I so angry?")...and from there, he goes to the bath house , where he overhears Thorne and Marsh trying to bring Yarwick into their plan to elect Slynt.


I've looked at this so many times for clues on various other topics ; Jon's thoughts and motivations re: Winterfell, the election, Bowen's motives, Yarwick's, etc.. but I only now realized that the events and language used between the Emmett bout, Jon's quarters and the bathouse scene may be telling of things to come. Here's the scene - for now , sans Jon's musings on Winterfell and Bowen's fears (although they're pertinent in the really big picture) ...


His friends were still out in the practice yard, but Jon was in no fit state to face them. He left the armory by the back, descending a steep flight of stone steps to the wormways, the tunnels that linked the castle’s keeps and towers below the earth. It was short walk to the bathhouse, where he took a cold plunge to wash the sweat off and soaked in a hot stone tub. The warmth took some of the ache from his muscles and made him think of Winterfell’s muddy pools, steaming and bubbling in the godswood.

****************

The sound of voices echoing off the vaulted ceiling brought him back to Castle Black. “I don’t know,” a man was saying, in a voice thick with doubts. “Maybe if I knew the man better... Lord Stannis didn’t have much good to say of him, I’ll tell you that.”...(Othell Yarwick ,speaking of Slynt)

****************

Jon Snow sat up suddenly, and the three men froze at the sound of the slosh. “My lords,” he said with cold courtesy.

“What are you doing here, bastard?” Thorne asked.

“Bathing. But don’t let me spoil your plotting.” Jon climbed from the water, dried, dressed, and left them to conspire.


Among other things, what we're being shown in those 3 scenes is :


1. Jon has had an episode of battle frenzy .. that he doesn't fully understand.He goes from thinking "No. Not enough .Never enough." while in berserker mode, to thinking "That was too much." as he comes back to his normal self (as Emmett quips about knowing how Qhorin must have felt.)


2. He retreats to his quarters, and will go on to the bath house to relieve "the ache from his muscles". In other words, a mini-healing, and note..


3. "His friends were still out in the practice yard, but Jon was in no fit state to face them." .. This may tell us who will be in control at CB in the aftermath. Obviously, Jon will need treatment ..and he may well be "in no fit state to face them." Now, I think we should consider the different meanings "facing them" might have. In ASoS he's embarassed, and still wrestling with the implications of Stannis' offer. ..Just before the attack in ADWD, he stood facing the wildlings and sundry NW delivering his address. In TWoW...? ..taking control?..meting out justice?.. announcing a further change of plan? :dunno:


4. In ASoS, it's during this mini-healing that Jon learns of Alliser and Bowen's plotting. He knew previously that Slynt was gaining ground in the election , but didn't know how he was being helped or entirely by whom. He treats them with "cold courtesy" as he does through the events of ADWD, but here he sees the extent of their plotting and conspiring regarding Slynt, whereas he's yet to realize it in ADWD.


5. Othell was filled with doubts ..and in ASoS he isn't recruited into the plot. I expect the same to be true in the case of the attack on Jon.


6. Note that in order to get to the place where the truth is revealed Jon goes down into the wormways (where I believe Alliser is hiding)... and there, Alliser takes the opportunity to call Jon "bastard" (the epithet that features so prominently in the pink letter).


Of course, as always, we'll have to wait and see, but I have a feeling that the story will not have the luxury of Jon being "out of it" or even in Ghost for any appreciable length of time. I think the yard will be filled with Jon's friends. (All the anti-Jon factions put together would still be greatly outnumbered.) But I can't see who else could take command of all the pro Jon factions effectively or for long, either.


ETA: I also wanted to draw attention to "Jon Snow sat up suddenly" ;)

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Julia H.. Those are terrific nuggets .. I particularly love Oakenshield (and what you have to say about it) because it resonates with some things I had to leave out of the OP in an effort to not go on forever ;)

<snip>

ETA: I also wanted to draw attention to "Jon Snow sat up suddenly" ;)

I'm glad to have been able to contribute something to the thread. :)

One more idea: If the "oak" is the wildlings, then the "iron" may be someone who belongs to Stannis. Devan, for instance?

Jon Snow sat up suddenly, and the three men froze (...)

I would love that! :laugh:

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Jon is a Targaryen, and those moments with Thorne and Emmett are the closest to "waking the dragon" we've seen so far. I think we will see it again. If I am correct, and R+L=J is revealed to him by BR while he is out, then he will be angry for a while after learning the truth. I think we will see that woken dragon/berserker mode be able tno come out more easily, as we see him fight in battle. I think it will be first against the Weeper, and later against the Boltons.





You have made some interesting points, but there are a couple of issues I have with this theory:



1) Tampering with Longclaw: Impossible, Ned Stark learned his sons to take care of their own weapons. I would be greatly surpised if anyone but Jon handled Longclaw. Who would have sabotaged it in your theory?





Yeah, i think it is more they coated their blades with wolfsbane. It is associated with being a weakness to werewolves, the inspiration for wargs. It has also been used for medicine since antiquity including the Middle Ages. It wouldn't be out of place for Aemon to have some in his quarters, which are currently watched over by the stewards. Woldbane is neurotoxic, and has been known to cause paralysis, which would explain why Jon couldn't get his sword free.


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You have made some interesting points, but there are a couple of issues I have with this theory:

1) Tampering with Longclaw: Impossible, Ned Stark learned his sons to take care of their own weapons. I would be greatly surpised if anyone but Jon handled Longclaw. Who would have sabotaged it in your theory?

2) That mailshirt is another thing that isn't very convincing imo. For one thing, I always assumed that he was wearing one, without actually looking at the mailshirt in his quarters. Like, the NW are a military order and the watch can be attacked at all time. Some form of protection, like mail, is probably worn.

3) Even with the mailshirt, it's not at all strange that Jon's wound would be deep. I have always read that mail is more a defense against cuts and slash, but a straight-up trust is something different. Especially since Mance and his fellow assassins probably didn't just raid the kitchen for knives to stab Jon with it. They probably used their own daggers, which they could also use in a combat situation to push through

4) This is a semi-canon thing at best but, on the show the little kid is going to stab Jon. I can't say that I believe the show will have the guts to have Kit Harington carve his way through the attackers, one of which is a little boy.

5) There is also just all that set-up. Varamyr's prologue, the resurrection of Berric and Catelyn by a Red Priest, the possible candidates for a sacrifice in the form of Theon and Shireen, the ice cells, those are all clues building towards the resurrection angle. Especially since most people see Jon's resurrection as a combination of a fire and ice ritual. Mel does her thing and accidentally or intentionally heals his body, while Bran leads Jon's mind - protected inside Ghost - back into his healed body. Thus, his reanimation is the result of both ice and fire.

I guess what I'm saying is that I don't really see it. At least not in a scenario where Jon doesn't end up dead or so close to dead that it doesn't really matter. GRRM is definitely building up to something with the berserker thing and I could see Jon coming back and butchering the assassins, especially since he might have allowed Ghost to take over and that would be all anger, madness and ferocity. At the end of that fight Jon would still go down and be dead in my opinion.

It's not impossible for anyone to have tampered with Longclaw.. Selyse has increasingly been taking Stannis' perogatives onto herself ..and Jon's last chapter shows her her taking extreme precautions for her own safety.

With so many bloodthirsty wildlings infesting Castle Black, Selyse kept her sworn shields about her night and day.

... and ... Her Grace had posted men on every landing to keep her safe from murderous wildlings.

Longclaw is not mentioned on either of the occasions we see Jon in her quarters, but on both occasions Ghost is not allowed in..and after the second occasion, we're pointedly reminded of this fact in Jon and Mel's little exchange.

“Where is your direwolf?”

“Asleep in my chambers. Her Grace does not allow Ghost in her presence. She claims he scares

the princess. And so long as Borroq and his boar are about, I dare not let him loose.”

It's very possible and reasonable to think that Longclaw was left in his quarters with Ghost (to Jon's mind, safely, and preferable to handing it over to the likes of Ser Patrek, or one of the guards).

It's clear that Jon's guards are allowed inside (at least in the armoury section) to get out of the cold. Mully is my candidate for tamperer, and what initially put me on to him, is Ghost's extreme reaction to him , while merely bristling at Bowen and Othell. I think Jon wrongly associates Ghost's agitation solely with Borroq's boar.

(This is the same Mully who issued Val the half-blind horse, and who probably was the one carrying tales to Bowen right afterward.)

I assume Jon would naturally have been wearing mail.. but because he realised his danger(clear at his first warning from Mel,when he thinks he doesn't need her to name his enemies), not because all of the NW wear mail at all times. More than once, we're shown men being issued mail from the armoury for training bouts. Their "enemy" has always been on the other side of the wall, and they've not considered attack from the south something to worry about. So, for ranging,or when they're expecting to do battle , yes, mail would probably be standard equipment... otherwise, no, I don't think they would weigh themselves down for their everyday duties.

I suspect the mail shirt was on the table because it was being modified in some way, and the job was half finished. I don't think it was just there for colour, but a Chekovian prop.

I think the Varamyr prologue is misleading in regard to Jon (as well as the Cat and Beric examples). I know many people think they're meant to show us what will be for Jon... I don't agree. I think they're meant to make us fear what could happen for Jon. Not one of any of the resurrections in the books enhanced those characters in any way, but rather, corrupted or perverted them. As GRRM said recently, "Lady Stoneheart is not Cat."

I don't think he'll want John to have less mental acuity, or to start losing memories, or sense of self. I think it is his self that's important to the story..

I predict that Theon won't be sacrificed and that poor doomed little Shireen will probably exit at the hands of Mel and/or Selyse in an effort to aid Stannis, not Jon.

Re: the show- I'll just add that Olly is not even semi-cannon in any way ( except for the show),and characters who are prominent in the books (and their motivations) have barely been alluded to .. so if the show covers "For the Watch", I don't expect it to have a lot to do with book canon.

I'm glad to have been able to contribute something to the thread. :)

One more idea: If the "oak" is the wildlings, then the "iron" may be someone who belongs to Stannis. Devan, for instance?

Jon Snow sat up suddenly, and the three men froze (...)

I would love that! :laugh:

I could see someone assocoiated with Stannis as representing iron .. or, you've just make me think..what about Iron Emmett? His movements have not been accounted for.. If Jon had originally asked the wildling leaders to be present to plan for Hardhome, might Emmett not have been asked as well, since he commands the spearwives ? Sending spearwives was an option Jon specifically asked Bowen and Othell to weigh in on...

O-o-o-h, I really like.. "Oak Tormund and iron Emmett , guard me well..."

Jon is a Targaryen, and those moments with Thorne and Emmett are the closest to "waking the dragon" we've seen so far. I think we will see it again. If I am correct, and R+L=J is revealed to him by BR while he is out, then he will be angry for a while after learning the truth. I think we will see that woken dragon/berserker mode be able tno come out more easily, as we see him fight in battle. I think it will be first against the Weeper, and later against the Boltons.

Yeah, i think it is more they coated their blades with wolfsbane. It is associated with being a weakness to werewolves, the inspiration for wargs. It has also been used for medicine since antiquity including the Middle Ages. It wouldn't be out of place for Aemon to have some in his quarters, which are currently watched over by the stewards. Woldbane is neurotoxic, and has been known to cause paralysis, which would explain why Jon couldn't get his sword free.

I think the berserker thing is more strongly tied to his "wolf blood" though his dragon blood might well make it stronger, or accelerate it in some way. If R+L=J is to be revealed directly from Bran, I don't see that Jon would need to be in a lengthy coma for that to happen.

I agree that the Weeper challenge will surface before an attack by the Others.. but I really do think Ramsay is on his way and will need to be dealt with immediately..(Roose, later)

My problem with wolfsbane is that I don't think it's been mentioned to date. Certainly I haven't noticed much being made of it ( unlike,say, tansy ) ... I believe we have to import it ourselves into the story, which would seem a little "deus ex machina" for the way GRRM writes. Jon can't get his sword free, but goes on to find the hilt of Bowen's dagger and "wrench" it free. I don't think his fingers were actually affected.

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I could see someone assocoiated with Stannis as representing iron .. or, you've just make me think..what about Iron Emmett? His movements have not been accounted for.. If Jon had originally asked the wildling leaders to be present to plan for Hardhome, might Emmett not have been asked as well, since he commands the spearwives ? Sending spearwives was an option Jon specifically asked Bowen and Othell to weigh in on...

O-o-o-h, I really like.. "Oak Tormund and iron Emmett , guard me well..."

Wow, that's a wonderful idea! Of course, Emmett! I have always had the feeling that he must have a role to play yet. So GRRM quietly placed both the iron and the oak in Jon's vicinity and made them Jon's friends. Then, of course, he apparently removed them both, but are they really so far away as we think?

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I disagree that Jon's sudden bouts of anger or strength are associated with wolfs blood. As stated in the text, Lyanna and Brandon both had touches of it and it was in reference to their personalities. The term "waking the dragon" would fit much better in this case.

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Leaving that aside for a moment and looking at Jon... "Jon was armored in black ice, but his blade burned red in his fist."..Black = the Night's Watch , Ice = the Wall itself. The Wall and the Watch ( and whatever spells originally bound them) are Jon's armour, but I think it goes even deepr than that. Whatever magic is in the Wall is probably also present in the Stark bloodline.For me, this is the meaning of .. "Jon Snow could see his own reflection dimly inside the icy walls." .. ADWD

It is far more likely that Jon was armored in 'black ice' because that is what the Other's Armor is made out of... Not black as in the color (or absence of color), but black Ice as in the seemingly invisible phenomenon called "black Ice"... It is why the the Other's Armor shimmers & blends in so well with the surroundings...

From Wikipedia:

Black ice, sometimes called clear ice, refers to a thin coating of glazed ice on a surface. While not truly black, it is virtually transparent, allowing black asphalt/macadam roadways or the surface below to be seen through it—hence the term "black ice".

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I think the Varamyr prologue is misleading in regard to Jon (as well as the Cat and Beric examples). I know many people think they're meant to show us what will be for Jon... I don't agree. I think they're meant to make us fear what could happen for Jon. Not one of any of the resurrections in the books enhanced those characters in any way, but rather, corrupted or perverted them. As GRRM said recently, "Lady Stoneheart is not Cat."

Jon's future character development is all down-hill from here... Jon has some Dark Roads to walk... He is the Night's King... He will bind his army to his will using 'strange sorceries' (Old Nan's Words)... Those strange sorceries are his warging/skinchanging abilities... After Jon's TWOW character development, he will be a corrupted & perverted form of the Jon Snow that was stabbed in ADWDs...

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We don't actually know that the knife slash to the throat wasn't serious. Jon says it grazed and cut him, but that's Jon's THOUGHTS. It's not an objective truth. Jon THINKS the wound wasn't serious... not GRRM TOLD us it wasn't serious. There's a huge difference.



For anybody doubting that this isn't a plausible scenario, read Promise of The Witch King by R.A Salvatore and more specifically Mariabronne the Rover's death. Mariabronne takes a neck wound that he thinks he got mostly out of the way of and therefore isn't serious, and continues fighting as though nothing is wrong for a bit. Then suddenly he feels weak and collapses and is killed moments later. When his companions find his body, the neck wound is revealed to far more serious than Mariabronne thought.



GRRM is most certainly aware of Salvatore's works. He's one of the biggest names in fantasy, and GRRM has let him write about ASOIAF as Salvatore is one of the featured authors in Beyond The Wall, a book of essays exploring ASOIAF. In all likelihood, he's read Mariabronne's death scene, and could very likely be almost re-enacting it with Jon. Jon takes a wound that he thinks isn't serious, but in fact was (hence why he can't draw Longclaw, despite thinking he wasn't wounded badly).



TL;DR Jon's neck wound might actually have been serious. All we know is that Jon didn't think it was. Not that it actually wasn't.


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