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BRAN’S GROWING POWERS AFTER his FINAL POV in ADwD

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Wizz-The-Smith, LongRider , Lady Barbrey..
 
There are some very good catches and interesting possibilities here.. I'll just call some of them up at random..  I had quite forgotten Bran's "We could all be ravens and live in Maester Luwin's rookery.".. I love that.
 
I know we're all trying to be mindful that sometimes the wind is just going to be the wind..;)..and at the same time, sometimes Bran (or another greenseer) might well be present in it.. But I want to introduce another thought as well (if someone else hasn't already) - that especially when we're talking about at the Wall or in Winterfell , the magic of those places has a life of it's own, so that even when it isn't being directed by Bran / Bloodraven / greenseer x, it's attuned to their goals (or they are attuned to it's goals).
 
The magic itself would automatically act to blow away Mel's words, or at times distract her, interrupt her, etc., by blowing her skirts. (Perhaps it would blow her away,if it could). And even in Jon's thoughts about Mully , " the wind had turned his cheeks as red as his hair."..given the fact that Mully appears to be Bowen's catspaw (he and Bowen would have been at the Wall long enough to be "winter friends") .. then the wind might well want to chafe him more than the next guy.. And this is shortly before the hinges on the door to the ice cell scream (note that it's Wick, one of Jon's attackers, who opens the door).
 
I might have mentioned this before, but as far back as ACoK, after the miller's boys have been killed, we see Theon on the WF battlements..
 
A brisk autumn wind was swirling through the battlements. It reddened his cheeks and stung his eyes. ....
... On their iron spikes atop the gatehouse, the heads waited. 
Theon gazed at them silently while the wind tugged on his cloak with small ghostly hands.
 
This is just before his and Ramsay's combined actions force Bran and Rickon out of WF, leaving it without a Stark presence. Bran can't be present in the wind,yet.. but maybe BR can and maybe the magic of WF itself is "aware" that he's already chipping away at it's edges.
 
Since the questions around Val have been raised, I feel compelled to jump in (she's been an obsession of mine for years).. I could definitely see the one-eyed garron as an animal that has been previously skinchanged .. maybe by Bloodraven .. someone may even be present to watch what Val is doing on her mission (as Mormont's raven keeps close tabs on Jon) , but I don't think the garron is finding her way for her ..she says, "I know where I must go." ..I'm fundamentally opposed to seeing her as another character's tool, or merely a symbol.. (Not that that was necessarily being suggested.)
 
I humbly (but not too humbly) offer my own take, which has some very basic differences from sweetsunray's... (it's 3 yrs. old now, and more clues have come to me in the course of re-reads, but it's still pretty concise.)
 
http://asoiaf.westeros.org/index.php/topic/66294-tormund-and-val-;-jons-intermediaries-to-the-old-gods/ 
 
..or a kind of short form summary in one or two of my posts, here..
  http://asoiaf.westeros.org/index.php/topic/113919-jon-and-val/page-8
 
I suppose the best way to put the difference is - I think the historic "Vala" (seers in the old Norse culture) are the best and most likely model for Val and Dalla, not the mythological Valkyries. Similarly, I think that with Tormund,  "Speaker to Gods" and "Father to Hosts" identify him as the classic Chieftain/priest of Norse culture and outweigh the Thor-like "Thunder Fist" in importance. I think the behaviour of the two characters is consistent with this.  
 
I think Morna best fits the category of primarily healer( perhaps specialising in battle wounds) but who also does some scrying and I've come to see her offer to be Jon's man or his woman  as carrying more than just a sexual connotation. She's probably considerably older, having (I believe) sons among the warrior class, as well as one among the hostages...If he doesn't want to ally with Val because of tempting his vows.. he can avoid the problem and ally with her as his seer..(???)
 
I feel sure some form of Wildling prophecy also exists of a great leader or hero emerging at a time of great crisis. The hints have been subtle but they are there, IMO... (Tormund thought at one time, "it" might be him.) ... So, had Dalla (wrongly) identified Mance as the hero? ..and does Val now believe Jon is this figure ? .. When you think about it, there are some strong similarities between Jon and Mance, and the differences between them might not be picked up in a vision. - Each came to the NW at a young age , each has (at least) one unknown parent.. each has, at different times in their lives, given good service to the Watch and each has deserted.. Both want to bring the Free Folk to shelter south of the wall and would risk themselves to do it. ... You can see how a misidentification can easily have been made.
 
LongRider.. I don't think your crackpot idea is so crackpot if Jon wargs into Ghost for any length of time (it's possible).. But I have another idea that I won't call crackpot, because I think there are enough clues to suggest it.. maybe it will appeal to you.
 
When Jon says "Ghost,"  maybe it's not a sign of him going into Ghost, but of Ghost coming into him. I don't think Jon is anywhere near as badly injured as most people believe (after picking the assassination scene apart with tweezers and a fine tooth comb) and there have been signs that Jon is a developing berserker (see the Iron Emmett bout for the clearest example) I think there's a strong possibility that he has just been shunted out of his normal consciousness into an altered mental state and may just get up off the ground and fight back with wolf-like ferocity. (In the Emmett bout, he had no awareness of his own attack, or of Emmett yielding..and he just destroyed Emmett, who was supposedly the better fighter.)

Wow, you're touching on a number of things I'm just discovering on my re-read. I'm only on Clash right now but have already wondered about the berserker thing, and not only with Jon. There is the passage later in the series from Selmy, who talks about the vicious murder of Rhaenys Targaryan by Amory Lorch, and says that the 'blood was in him', a phrase I've seen before in reference to berserkers. 'The beast was in him', 'the blood was in him', etc. are the usual phrases. So I'm taking it straight up that the idea of a berserker is known in Westeros.

My own crackpot is that Se!my had it wrong, and it wasn't Amory with the beast in him, but Rhaenys (Jon's half-sister) with the beast in her, necessitating the half hundred vicious stab wounds because she was literally though subconsciously like Jon inducing a cat berserk in her 3 year old body. I'm going to publish this in an essay soon entitled Arya's Dark Passenger. I've been particularly looking at references to Rhaenys and her kitten, and whether Arya skinchanged the cat and was left with a rather tattered remnant of Rhaenys's consciousness (a la Orell's remnant of hate for Jon inside Varamyr) - 'it works both ways' - after Varamyr took possession of the eagle when Orell died. I posted something on this more as a joke, but on re-read it's becoming a little overwhelming the weight of evidence for the theory. Anyway, this is an aside but did want to say there might be more than one berserker in Jon's family!

This made me wonder about Aerys Targaryan too. It was almost like the man was possessed in his later years. He has the same Blackwood birthright as Rhaenys - at Summerhall did he skinchange a dragon in its egg accidentally? Leaving him a man but with a dark passenger that over the years took the upper hand? I only really thought this because of the horrid picture of him in the worldbook with the long nails and crazed face, as if a dragon wanted to burst out of his skin. I know the pictures aren't canon, but his behaviour doesn't belie this idea. A dragon's will would be as strong as a man's or stronger (I believe either Martin or Ran made a comment years ago that this would restrict if not rule out altogether a normal skinchanger taking control of a dragon in a traditional way). Was Aerys an unknowing skinchanger too weak to handle the remnant of the thing inside him? This last is pure speculation (as opposed to my Arya/Rhaenys theory that has some evidence) but with the newer information from Dance about skinchanging, and the revelation of Blackwood blood in that line starting with Egg's wife, and the knowledge that even earlier Bloodraven's mother was a Blackwood and he somehow became a greenseer and skinchanger, I don't think it's out of line to start using what we now know about it to re-examine past behaviour of characters that was strange to say the least.

I did google berserker for more knowledge, and it does not appear to be believed it was at the will of the animal that someone changes, but a sometimes subliminal inducement by the skinchanger when under attack for the animal to take possession. I definitely agree with you, bemused, that this likely has happened to Jon more than once - nobody else seems to operate at strenths well beyond themselves so far on my re-read. I read your theory on this and think you are dead on. I do wonder if Ghost is somehow more special than any similar or traditional kinds of berserker animals,in our own myths and the Westerosi olden days, because of the albinism. In other words, can Ghost under his own agency skinchange human skinchangers, particularly Jon, whether they consciously or unconsciously induce it or not? (And can dragons? In the case of Aerys?)

Regarding Val, I will wait till I get to her part to pass judgement. My comment about the two one eyed animals was just a thrown out thought. We know One Eye the wolf was likely not warged by Bloodraven, or Varamyr as an experienced skinchanger would have known it. I can't even remember the garron part, was only following up on the thought that an animal habitually skinchanged for a very long time might show a sign of it, like one eye, or in the case of Balerion the cat, one ear. This was widely believed in folklore - a familiar to a witch would be marked by a missing eye or ear. Bloodraven does not need to be behind it at all - just a sign of someone long inhabiting it or using it. The garron does not have to have someone inside it at present but could have been used that way in the past.

I followed sweetsunray's post on the Valkyrie eagerly but I agree this can only go so far (sweetsunray acknowledges this) because George does not do straight allegory. I think your thoughts on Val and Dalla have great merit. By the way, a recent catch I think I made re Norse mythology: Hodor. Putting aside Hodor's namesake as the brother who accidentally kills Baldr for the moment: an alternative name for Odin was Odr. He was the particular aspect of Odin as the wanderer. Have you ever noticed how many times Hodor is said to wander? With both our Odin figure and his mini-me stuck in the weirwoods, I wonder how long it will take before Hodor is skinchanged to become an active participant in the world as the wandering aspect of one or the other of them? Was that all Coldhands was? Can Bloodraven skinchange a dead man? Perhaps alternating between Coldhands and the elk as he drew the children to him? This is a mystery to me that I think will be solved in the next book but I'm looking forward to re-reading that bit when I get to it.

But I suppose this (finally) brings me back to the original topic: will Bran be able to skinchange the dead with his growing powers? And is it a power similar to this - from the same source - that allows the Others to do it? Is their necromancy a type of skinchanging? I think it's possible in light of Varamyr's revelation that Thistle KNEW him. A remnant of the dead person remains even while wighted. There is a connection here that's just glimmering out of focus for me.

I would really love a thread on skinchanging! I think there is something at base similar to the necromantic magic of the Others, the warging and skinchanging of the Children and First Men, and the strange behaviour of Aerys and Rhaenys (at her death and through Arya - the Dark Heart of the GoHH). For the last, it makes me wonder if the experiment at Summerhall was not only to rebirth dragons but to rebirth dragons that could be skinchanged (because of Targaryan blood bonding and Blackwood skinchanging) rather than just controlled with whips, horns and spells. 'Heads' of the dragon.

Love your idea that Tormund et al are following a prophecy of their own and think it's true because I don't even have to re-read those bits - I had that suspicion on first read-through. I think it has to have something to do with the Horn of Joramun, and like all such prophecies, is two-edged.

BIG apologies for such a long post. Blame yourselves, guys, you've inspired some crackpot but possibly some pattern-forming! Edited by Lady Barbrey

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Lady, I agree with the bolded.  I too think SR has more of a part to play than simply being a victim of LF.  Personally, my gut feeling is he will be on to survive the series.  SR is like some children in the books and life; ill and sickly when a child but grows strong as an adult, so perhaps that's his path. 
 
Also have bolded about the elk and animals skin changed before.  Who was in the elk I wonder?  When warging the ravens Bran discovers traces of other skinchangers in them.  Bran and party ate the elk. Do these traces die when the animal dies, what if it's eaten as the elk was? 
 
Your comments about the Wall being a hinge of magic and accessing it through the weirwoods are pretty interesting!  


I have often wondered if it was Coldhands being skinchanged by Bloodraven but that flip through souls by Varamyr confirms for me that at least the elk was skinchanged at some point. Which begs the question, was it Bloodraven that skinchanged the elk (possibly skinchanging Coldhands alternatively or simultaneously), or was the resurrected Coldhands a former skinchanger that still had that power even though technically dead. (Perhaps a skinchanger with an elk for a totem - dont remember if one exists. Are Hornfoots elks?). The latter might be more interesting! In terms of Jon.

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Lady, I agree with the bolded.  I too think SR has more of a part to play than simply being a victim of LF.  Personally, my gut feeling is he will be on to survive the series.  SR is like some children in the books and life; ill and sickly when a child but grows strong as an adult, so perhaps that's his path. 
 
Also have bolded about the elk and animals skin changed before.  Who was in the elk I wonder?  When warging the ravens Bran discovers traces of other skinchangers in them.  Bran and party ate the elk. Do these traces die when the animal dies, what if it's eaten as the elk was? 
 
Your comments about the Wall being a hinge of magic and accessing it through the weirwoods are pretty interesting!  


Honestly I hope something better comes to Sweetrobin! With magic on the rise in the world, all sorts of characters might be experiencing latent powers they know nothing about. I like what bemused says about the Wall operating on its own. It made me think that the spells in the Wall might already be starting to work in response to a threat by the Others - a release of magic into the world that might activate latent bloodlines?Or possibly it was the burning of Winterfell? I've always seen the serpent of smoke that Summer sees above Winterfell not as the comet or acreal dragon but the release of the spells woven into its construction, or perhaps the spirit of a dragon egg. Something metaphorical anyway. Pure spec!

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I like what you've found here, with the pin, the raven and the wind, and the one eyed garron. I can see where Bran and BR may have had a presence there.  But could there be something else? 
 
I'm thinking about Val.  She's surrounded by all kinds of interesting imagery.  She's dressed in white on white snow field.  She's riding a grey horse, and grey horses are many times refereed to as white. She's joined by a white direwolf, she has blue eyes and is sometimes refereed to as a 'princess.'  
 
And weirwood face pin.  I can't recall anywhere else in the text where there is another example of jewelry based on the ww.  I'm glad you noticed it as it's just one line but not only is it important, but I feel Val will be as well. 
 
Ghost seems like Val and as she rides into view and is joined by the direwolf Jon thinks "They look as though they belong together."   So what is it with the wilding princess?  She's isolated from the others by Mel and Selyse, they seem threatened by her, can Mel feel her power?  Does much of Val's personal power come from BR? 
 
I don't think she's being warged, but where did the ww pin come from?  I don't think it's accidental that she wears it.  Val herself is a strong wilding woman, part of BR's weirnet somehow?  And if she perhaps is part of BR's weirnet, how would that affect and possibly influence Bran?


I haven't yet got to my re-read on Val but I did come across something Dany dreams that I have yet to make out. She sees a grey smoke horse with a mane of blue fire. This reminded me of Lyanna but had no idea why Dany would be dreaming of Lyanna (unless of course there's something to the tinfoil of Dany as Jon's twin and Lyanna is her mother!). With this imagery you've stated, Val could be set up as a foil for Dany?

I can't remember Val much from my first read but definitely remember the weirwood pin. That tells me it was important at least because it really stood out.

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Very nice job! It's interesting that these screams are coming from the mouth of birds. There are a lot of references to Bran-As-A-Bird throughout ASOIAF, especially in AGOT Bran II. From the way Bran is said to perch on the walls of WF, to it just being Bran and the birds who knows the secrets of WF, to the Old Nan Icarus story that Bran then "reenacts" (with Jaime Lannister's help) to some other ones, Bran is likened to a bird quite a bit. And later the basket Hodor carries Bran is a like a bird's cage.

BearQueen:  Awesome responses.  I will attempt to answer in kind.

Bran's fascination with climbing allows him to observe with a bird's eye point of view.  He shares this perspective with Sansa who builds a model repliication of Winterfell while at the castle in the clouds of House Arryn.  BEMUSED shared this with me in the Winter Fell thread.

Bran, likewise, opens Jon's third eye during his wolf dream in ACoK, and allows him to look upon the massing wildlings from a crag , far above the Milkwater.

 

“And suddenly he was back in the mountains, his paws sunk deep in a drift of snow as he stood upon the edge of a great precipice. Before him the Skirling Pass opened up into airy emptiness, and a long vee-shaped valley lay spread beneath him like a quilt, awash in all the colors of an autumn afternoon” [ACoK].

 

·        Bran replaces the forest with a prime location from a vantage point atop the Skirling Pass that overlooks the valley and the Milkwater where the wildlings are massing.  Bran gifts the warg in Ghost a “bird’s eye view”, which suggests Bran’s flying lessons in which he sees through a raven’s eyes from high in the sky over the Cave of Skulls.  Therefore, Martin evidences Bran’s greensight to reveal the status of his powers as of ADwD and beyond.

·        Ghost’s paws sunk deep into the snow assures that he is well-grounded and balanced on his perch, all of which safeguards him from the eagle’s surprise attack and prevents the bird of prey from forcing him to fall from the precipice to his death.

 

·        Bran transports wolf and warg from the forest to a location on the Skirling Pass closer to the camp where Jon dreams.  Bran’s magic comports them through time as the trees and their greenseers experience it.

It is my contention that the birds and wind are upward management that Bran will eventually share with Sansa when her warg spirit is awakened and and trained.

Good parallel with Icarus - who ignores warnings and suffers the consequences.

In this way and many others, Martin hints at the roles of the gods in the lives of the mortals.  Bran's wolf pup alerts Bran of danger, yet Bran willfully ignores him.  BR's attempts to divert Bran fail - but it has been written - and all the 3EC can do is damage control, sparing Bran from certain death by buffering his fall.

People are not easy to "control", and they are amazingly self-destructive.  Jaime pushing Bran is wrong on so many levels, yet he does it anyway - "for love"!  How Bran copes with mortals' transgressions despite all of Bran's acquisition of knowledge and insprations remains to be seen.

 

 

 

Edited by evita mgfs
Lost half my post!

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Hey everyone!  Thanks for al the wonderful respoonses!  I promise to respond to everyone - or go insane trying.  I keep losing entire responses despite saving and submitting the finished product.

DRATS!  

Your supportive words have inspired my Muse!  I am excited and have much to share!

In my absence, I labored over another essay regarding Bran's growing powers.  However, I posted it as a topic of its own in the reread.  I am going to repost it in this thread where it belongs.  No one has responded to it anyway- so I hope everyone here does not give me the silent treatment as well.

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snip

In my absence, I labored over another essay regarding Bran's growing powers.  However, I posted it as a topic of its own in the reread.  I am going to repost it in this thread where it belongs.  No one has responded to it anyway- so I hope everyone here does not give me the silent treatment as well.

Visions in a Wolf-Dream: Bran Reaches Jon VII Chapter 53, A Clash of Kings

AN:  I apologize for the length of my ramblings.

My first brave post on Westeros years ago was my effort to analyze Jon’s wolf dream visited by Bran as a demonstration of Bran’s growing greenseeing powers.  I theorized that Bran returns to Jon’s dream from a point after his last POV in A Dance with Dragons after the new greenseer discovers a means of communicating with his siblings.  Naturally, my ideas were refuted with a reasonable argument pertaining to the “timeline”:  Bran opens his third eye in the Winterfell crypts, after which he recalls seeing Ghost and Jon.  So, like a direwolf with a bone she is unwilling to leave go, so am I.  What follows is my attempts to deconstruct Jon’s wolf dream with a goal to present a persuasive argument with textual evidences that may convince others of the possibility of Bran’s powers revealing to him ways in which he can reach his sibling Jon and the turncloak Theo

Feel free to question my evidences and conclusions, to augment them with further analyses, or to share what you and/or others have come to believe. 

The Sounds of Silence

Celebrated fantasy author George R.R. Martin scatters clues among deeply symbolic layers of prose narratives in novels that he styles A Song of Ice and Fire Series much like an expert gardener sows metaphoric seeds that take root and prosper.  Just so, Bran’s escalating greenseeing powers are the seeds that flourish under Martin’s ministrations. The author seemingly tempts readers to dig deep and reach far if they endeavor to unearth the evidences that document the scope of Bran’s magic. Even in those novels preceding A Dance with Dragons, Martin buries treasures awaiting discovery that only comes from returning to the beginning with the knowledge needed for insightful rereading\

Jon’s POVs throughout A Clash of Kings are noteworthy on many levels of analysis, but in regards to literary techniques, Martin favors engaging sensory elements to augment his descriptions of characters, of environments, and of “things” in general, conscientiously and artistically choosing words that he arranges into sentences, then paragraphs, to animate a fantasy world and its colorful populace. 

Martin makes the intangible tangible, relating for his readers what they know as familiar in order to evocate the unfamiliar.  Martin summons his fans to feel the biting cold of the Wall and beyond, to taste the potent sweetness of summerwine, to see Valyrian steel spill hot red blood on clean white snow, and to smell moist earth, sour perspiration, and wet fur. 

However, in Jon’s seventh ACoK narrative, while retaining particulars of the sensory perceptions associated with the tactile, the taste, the visual, and the olfactory, Martin showcases the auditory, employing distinctive sounds more acute when Martin places them strategically between silences

Illustrations of sound and silence are integral to Jon’s POVs in ACoK, and Martin attaches significance to the auditory during the rangers’ upward trek of the Skirling Pass, traveling on one of many steep, narrow paths lined with walls of rock.  Moving silently and in single file, the men hear the wind blowing through the mountain rock, causing the “skirling”, a shrill, mournful sound similar to bagpiping. Jon Snow observes, “The wind cut like a knife up here, and shrilled in the night like a mother mourning her slain children” (ACoK 739).

Amid the sounds and the silences of nature and men, Jon’s direwolf Ghost remains silent, a point Martin reaffirms throughout Jon’s POVs.  However, at the zenith of the Skirling Pass and under a rock archway, Jon sleeps only to hear Ghost break his silence, finally finding his voice to sing to his pack. Consequently, the boy inside the wolf shares his acute feelings of loss for his littermates, five brothers and a sister.  So great is his longing for his family, the otherwise silent Ghost announces his mourning with a direwolf’s voice, howling into the night sky: “his [Ghost’s] cry echoed through the forest, a long lonely mournful sound” [ACoK  765]

Martin fittingly chooses the Skirling Pass, known for its keening, as a setting for Ghost’s melancholy song.  The narrow pathway through which a warg is symbolically born serves as a metaphoric birth canal, and Bran the budding greenseer assists at the delivery of Jon’s warg spirit, which is marked by Ghost finding his voice. 

Can a Howl be Silent?

Neither Jon nor Ghost display “surprise” or amazement when Ghost exercises his voice for the first time.  The confusion of the dream platform may be a reason for the lack of reaction from boy and wolf.  Several other possibilities for Martin omitting what seems to be important include

1.)    Ghost issues a “phantom” howl which Jon dreams of hearing, in a way similar to Bran’s speech registering with Jon

2.)    Jon hears the wind in the rocky passages while he is in a dream state, and he mistakes it for Ghost’s keening

3.)    Ghost’s howl is a “non-event” in comparison to the other meritorious happenings in Jon’s wolf dream

4.)    Jon hears sounds in his wolf dream that he heard while awake, specifically wolves howling:  “A sound rose out of darkness, faint and distant, but unmistakable: the howling of wolves.  Their voices rise and fell in a chilly song, and lonely” [ACoK  515].

Before Analysis

Before analyzing Jon’s wolf dream, it is important to keep in mind the source of Jon’s mystical experiences.  Bran inspires Jon with his greenseeing powers that have advanced beyond Bran looking through the carved eyes in the heart trees, visual aids left by the singers to awaken the magic of new greenseers [ADwD]

Since Martin vigorously describes the limited vegetation among the rock layers defining the Skirling Pass, the author establishes that a heart tree is not in the vicinity of the rangers’ camp where Jon dreams.  Instead of accessing the trees, Bran accesses Jon’s wolf dream. Moreover, the singers and their greenseers have endowed the ringfort built by the First Men atop the Skirling Pass  with powerful magic that assists in making Bran’s return to a past event a possibility

Bran may open his third eye in the Winterfell crypts as of his last POV in ACoK, but he has not yet sat his weirwood throne to learn how to see as the gods see and to know what the trees know.  Therefore, Bran returns to Jon’s wolf dream after he masters aspects of his magic so that he can inspire Jon to embrace his warg nature, to open his third eye, and not to fear death and darkness.

Bloodraven cautions Bran that “the past remains the past.  We can learn from it, but we cannot change it” [ADwD 458].  Then the Last Greenseer draws from his personal experiences to convince Bran that his lord father Eddard Stark cannot and does not hear him. “You cannot speak to him, try as you might.  I know.  I have my own ghosts, Bran.  A brother I loved, a brother I hated, a woman I desired.  Through the trees, I see them still, but no word of mine has ever reached them” [ADwD 458].

Bran tests for himself the perimeters of the rules of greensight imposed upon him by Bloodraven and Leaf, and Bloodraven suspects and Leaf knows that he will.  After all, Bran ignores warnings of his mother, father, and maester about climbing.  Bran challenges rules and authority, and when he knowingly decides to break rules, he may indeed garner some enlightenment, but often this is won at great cost and loss by way of dire consequences.  By far Bran’s biggest lesson is in determining whether the risks justify the means.  A boy already broken may feel he has nothing more to lose when he dares to tempt fate

Unlike Bloodraven’s efforts to speak with his ghosts through the trees, Bran reaches Jon through Ghost and through Jon’s wolf dream, and Bran uses mental telepathy, not speech, to establish communication.

Bran manages to gift Jon a glimpse of his future, drawing from the shadows on Jon’s soul, hidden in the recesses of Jon’s mind. By accessing events from Jon’s “waking world”, Bran emphasizes his lessons in a dream.  For instance, Bran “inspires” – or facilitates - Jon’s first “warg” experience, employing his greenpowers to oversee a smooth transition for his bastard brother into the skin of his direwolf via the dream venue.  Martin implies that Bran’s powers are compelling and still in their infancy if readers measure acquisition of knowledge to physical growth.  Moreover, Bran communicates telepathically and empathetically with Jon via Ghost “from a future time” past the novel A Dance with Dragons.                                                          

Jon’s Dream of Direwolves

“When he [Jon] closed his eyes, he dreamed of direwolves” [ACoK 515]

·        Since dreams are lessons, and vise-versa, Bran opts for the realm of dreams to reach his siblings, specifically his half-brother Jon Snow: “Dreams became lessons, lessons became dreams, things happened all at once or not at all” [ADwD 451].  Through Jon’s direwolf Ghost and within Jon’s wolf-dream, Bran makes his presence known.  Bran takes his older brother to school with lessons disguised as dreams and with dreams that rouse raw and instinctive emotions.

·        The period is the “end mark” that concludes the above sentence [“When he [Jon] closed his eyes, he dreamed of direwolves”] which announces the beginning of Jon’s wolf dream, a sequence of pivotal events that continue until Jon wakes calling for Ghost.

·        Martin sets this one sentence apart in a paragraph of its own to separate it from the paragraph that precedes it and that follows it in order to establish and sustain ambiguity in pronominal references especially in writing the dream narrative that will follow. 

·        The preceding paragraph includes the following sentence, “He [Ghost] wants to hunt, Jon thought”, which is the last time Martin identifies in printed text the name “Jon” until after the dream. Within the wolf dream narrative, Martin does not distinguish either Jon or Ghost as an antecedent for the masculine pronouns he uses.  Hence, grammatically speaking, the masculine pronouns are referents to Jon since he is the last noun clearly stated.  That simply doesn’t work for the following reason

·        Many of Martin’s descriptors and action words are decisively canine-oriented.  By persistently not distinguishing either Jon or Ghost as an actor in the dream segments, Martin blurs the singular identities of boy and wolf, which is very likely his intention

·        The clause “he dreamed of direwolves” showcases the alliteration of the consonant “D” which emphasizes a hard sound that Martin repeats in his frequent use of the words “darkness” and “death”.

·        Martin affirms that Jon is the dreamer, not his direwolf Ghost even though the narrative may confuse the thoughts of Ghost with Jon’s and vice versa

·        It is Jon Snow who closes his eyes, it is Jon Snow who dreams of direwolves, but it is Martin who shifts perspectives.

The Dream Begins

Below, the initial wolf dream passage from ACoK describes Ghost’s instinctive connection with his pack whose scent he has lost.  Martin’s word choices are repeated when Bran’s wargs with Summer in his first POV in the novel A Storm of Swords.  It is worth considering that these feelings Bran and Summer experience at a later date on the timeline farther from Jon’s wolf dream are inspiration for Bran the greenseer when he returns to Jon’s dream, a profound way to unify the warg and wolf by evocating the shared emotions indicative to the direwolves and their wargs.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The matching words and their meanings are color coded for easier consideration:

 

 

 

 

 

 

There were five of them [direwolf pups] when there should have been six, and they [direwolf pups]  were scattered, each [pup] apart from the others [direwolf pups].  He [Ghost/Warg] felt a deep ache of emptiness, a sense of incompleteness. The forest was vast and cold, and they [wolf pups] were so small, so lost. His [Ghost’s] brothers [wolf pups/warg siblings] were out there somewhere [in the world], and his [Ghost’s] sister, but he [Ghost] had lost their [wolf pups’] scent.  He [Ghost] sat on his haunches and lifted his [Ghost’s] head to the darkening sky, and his [Ghost’s] cry echoed through the forest, a long lonely mournful sound. As it died away, he pricked up his [Ghost’s] ears, listening for an answer, but the only sound was the sigh of blowing snow” [ACoK].

 

 

 

 

 

 

Compare the language and meaning in Bran’s wolf dream, which occurs after Jon’s wolf dream.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“He [Bran in Summer] had a pack as well, once.  Five they had been, and a sixth who stood aside . . . He remembered their scents, his brothers and his sisters.  They had smelled alike, had smelled of pack, but each was different too . . . The others were scattered, like leaves blown by the wild wind” [ASoS 123].

The similarities between the dreams are marked, as both warg Bran and warg Ghost count living siblings, noting the pup who dies; both note the scent of pack; and both see the pack mates as “scattered”.  Bran experiences his dream far from Jon’s, in the next novel, and these are emotions Bran chooses to share with wolf and warg when he returns to revisit Jon’s wolf dream

·        The dream setting is the forest, which is unlike the “wind-carved arch of grey stone [that] marked the highest point of the Skirling Pass” [ACoK  517] where Qhorin orders his rangers to rest until “shadows began to grow again” [ACoK  763].

·        Ghost’s location among the trees brings to mind the location where Ghost digs furiously from “behind a fallen tree” at the base of the hill that the “wildlings called . . . the Fist of the First Men” [ACoK  507].

·        Ghost leads Jon to a recently dug grave where “there was no smell, no sign of graveworms”, a contrast to what Ghost sniffs near the weirwood sapling.

·        Jon unearths the obsidian tucked within “the black cloak of a Sworn Brother of the Night’s Watch” [ACoK 518].

·        This signature outerwear designates a visual uniformity among the black brothers. 

·        The black cloak symbolizes the “skin”, or the outer covering that protects men.  Jon metaphorically slips his skin when he wargs Ghost in his wolf drea

·        The unclaimed black cloak also signifies Jon turning cloak to wear a wildling’s guise, but only to obey the orders of Qhorin Halfhand.  Nevertheless, Jon feigns a shift in loyalties to infiltrate the enemy where he hopes to learn their secrets

·        The first part of Jon’s wolf dream limits the third-person point of view narration to Ghost’s perspective as perceived by the dreamer Jon Snow and inspired by the greenseer Bran.

·        Ghost telepathically and empathetically connects with his pack, those littermates with whom he at one time shared a womb.  They also share a past, and even though the pups are separated from each other by great distances, Ghost still feels his brother’ and sister’s collective presence even if he has lost their scent

·        Only Ghost owns five littermates at this juncture on the timeline, and the sixth wolf that Ghost cannot account for is Sansa’s Lady, the direwolf who meets an early demise. 

 

·        Bran is at Winterfell when Lady’s corpse is returned for burial in the lichyard; therefore, if Bran inspires Jon’s wolf dream, he may also divulge this information to warg and wolf. 

 

·        On the other hand, Ghost’s telepathic and instinctive connection to his pack enables him to sense that one wolf from the six born in the litter is now dead.  Through meeting minds with Ghost, Jon learns of Ghost losing a sister.

 

·        Jon experiences Ghost’s “deep ache of emptiness, a sense of incompleteness”.  Likewise, Jon misses his siblings, which is evident on several occasions when Jon thinks of his siblings individually or collectively.  For example, when Jon climbs the Skirling Pass with the rangers, he remembers “cold nights long ago at Winterfell when he shared a bed with his brothers” [ACoK].

 

·        Martin’s language depicts the behaviors of Ghost, yet there is much that relates to Jon and his warg pack:  Jon’s siblings are “scattered, each apart from the others”, and Jon’s brothers “were out there somewhere”.

 

·        Ghost’s cry is a “long lonely mournful sound” which is similar to the mournful keening attributed to the Skirling Pass.  Perhaps this is the sound Jon hears in his wolf dream.  More likely, the wind causes the skirling, and Bran, as part of the godhood, has powers of communication related to the wind

·        Ghost listens for an answer, one that takes a human voice that speaks after “the sigh of blowing snow” [ACoK].  Instead of a littermate’s wolf-song, another brother makes contact.

Who Calls Jon

“Jon?

“The call came from behind him, softer than a whisper, but strong too. Can a shout be silent? He turned his head, searching for his brother, for a glimpse of a lean grey shape moving beneath the trees, but there was nothing, only...

“A weirwood”

·        Martin does not enclose Jon in quotation marks, yet he distinguishes Jon with italics, which separates dialogue from a character’s inner thoughts and feelings.  Bran sends his call for Jon to the minds of both Jon and Ghost. 

·        Bran’s green magic appoints him as a telepathist who communicates directly from his mind to another’s, an extrasensory exercise Bran achieves by utilizing Ghost as the conduit and a dream as the platform to meet and to share with his brother Jon as a warg

·        Martin selects words with care, employing singular masculine pronouns as references that have no clearly printed antecedents separating wolf from boy. Martin demonstrates that wolf and warg are truly of one mind, one spirit, instinct and intellect married by a shared past with mystical influences at work.  Together they endure both emotional and physical pain.

“The call came from behind him, softer than a whisper, but strong too. Can a shout be silent?"

·        Ghost responds to the call name for Jon? as if the call name is his own, which is Ghost.   Regardless of hearing “Jon”, Ghost expects to see his own grey brother, as in his grey direwolf brother, even though Ghost surely knows that any one of his pack does not speak with words, does not call out names, does not whisper secrets, and does not shout into the silence. 

·        Martin pens a brilliant moment of suspense as a transition that provokes anticipation among Ghost, the warg Jon, and the readers who literally and/or figuratively “turn” with or AS Ghost, eagerly awaiting a lean grey direwolf. 

·        Alas, for a heartbeat, Martin fools those in the moment with shared disappointment that he colors with unflattering commentary:  “nothing” and “only” are not winning words by way of an introduction to the greenseer behind the weirwood.

“Can a shout be silent?

·        The silent shout emphasizes Bran’s telepathy. 

·        Martin does not mention that the tree has a mouth, and through omission, the author makes clear that Bran does not need a carved mouth to speak words when he can use thoughts; therefore, Jon and Ghost hear Bran’s voice not with their ears.

The Weirwood

“It seemed to sprout from solid rock, its pale roots twisting up from a myriad of fissures and hairline cracks. The tree was slender compared to other weirwoods he had seen, no more than a sapling, yet it was growing as he watched, its limbs thickening as they reached for the sky. Wary, he circled the smooth white trunk until he came to the face. Red eyes looked at him. Fierce eyes they were, yet glad to see him. The weirwood had his brother’s face. Had his brother always had three eyes?”  [ACoK  766]

·        When Bran first meaningfully connects with Jon, he inhabits a weirwood sapling

·       Jon observes the tree maturing rapidly, a visual metaphor of Bran’s accelerated “intake” of greenseeing knowledge compared to the physical growth of a weirwood from a sapling and beyond.  The expanding tree limbs that extend toward the sky are the greenseer’s arms spreading wide and shooting upward as if stretching far beyond other trees to grasp the greatest enlightenment.

 

·        The visibly growing weirwood Jon sees resembles the rapidly moving visions that Bran experiences through the eyes of Winterfell’s heart tree.  Bran watches trees dwindle and vanish through the “mists of centuries” [ADwD 460].

 

·        Bran’s learning takes place on a field of time according to a weirwood:  “a thousand human years” equal “a moment to a weirwood”’ [ADwD 458].

 

·        Bran’s red weirwood eyes mirror Ghost’s, “When the direwolf raised his head, his eyes glowed red and baleful, and water streamed from his jaws like slaver.  There was something fierce and terrible about him” [ACoK 516].

 

·        Their ferocity is symptomatic of visionaries, prophets, priests, and priestesses.  And, after experiencing visions, these mystics may have a loss of consciousness, physical weakness, intense thirst, temporary confusion, memory loss, and difficulty speaking.

 

·        Martin gives readers a glimpse of how a weirwood ages from the surface of Planetos, but Martin mentions very little as to the labyrinthine roots that embrace Bran in his weirwood throne

·        The weirwood, at varying stages of growth, is and will be the symbolic representation of Bran the greenseer when he visits the dreams of his siblings through their direwolves.  Lord Brynden reaches Bran through dreams during which he wears the skin of a three-eyed crow, the bird that commands Bran to choose:  fly or die! The crow wakes Bran, kissing his forehead with a peck – a “dream” pain that Bran feels still upon waking.  The Three-Eyed Crow wants Bran to open his third eye, and an intense moment of physical discomfort in a dream may serve as a waking memory later

·        The parallels between Bran’s first three-eyed crow dream and Jon’s wolf-dream are many, but both tree and crow impress the importance of opening the third eye

Bran Answers What Jon Think

Had his [Jon’s] brother [Bran] always had three eyes?

“’Not always’, came the silent shout.  ‘Not before the crow’” [ACoK  766]

Martin demonstrates Bran’s telepathic powers because after Jon Snow thinks:  “Had his brother always had three eyes?”  Bran answers, “’Not always’, came the silent shout.  ‘Not before the crow’”.  For the second time, Martin refers to the silent shout pertaining to Bran’s thoughts, which Martin conveniently italicizes.

The Smell of Death and Darknes

 “He  [Ghost] sniffed at the bark, smelled wolf and tree and boy, but behind that there were other scents, the rich brown smell of warm earth and the hard grey smell of stone and something else, something terrible. Death, he knew. He was smelling death. He cringed back, his hair bristling, and bared his fangs” [ACoK  766].

 

Don’t be afraid, I like it in the dark” [ACoK 766].

 

Ghost alerts to the smell of death when he sniffs the weirwood sapling, a scent that appears to originate with Bran and his residence either in the Winterfell crypts or in the Cave of Skulls.  Death surrounds Bran, literally and figuratively.

 

1.)    Beneath the snow and earth concealing the entrance to the Cave of Skulls, Bran sits his own weirwood throne, his Uncle Brandon Stark’s iron sword at hand and  his direwolf Summer nearby.  Bran’s posture is   like those dead Stark lords and Kings of Winter in Winterfell’s crypts who sit upon their own rock-carved thrones, their iron swords across their laps and stone direwolves at their feet.  The Cave of Skulls represents a symbolic crypt for Bran.  Moreover, the stone Starks frozen on their stone thrones are as crippled as Bran the broken whose useless legs take him nowhere.

 

2.)    Bran the “crippled boy” travels with a simple-minded giant and two crannogmen far from the Neck, a suspicious crew who are deliberately perpetuating the myth that the Prince of Winterfell is dead.  Jojen says, “So long as Bran remains dead, he is safe.  Alive, he becomes prey for those who want him dead for good and true” [ASoS 129].

 

3.)    Bran thinks of himself as dead because he is broken.  When Jojen dreams Bran dead , Bran thinks:  “he dreamed me dead, and I’m not.  Only he was, in a way . . .” [ASoS 129].

 

4.)    Bran’s teacher is a talking corpse and not the three-eyed crow from his dreams.

 

5.)    The interior of the cave features assorted skulls, and they rest upon the floor and line the walls.

 

6.)    Outside the cave the dead with black hands walk but cannot enter.

 

·        Ghost instinctively recoils from death, displaying very physical, canine-inspired reactions that include sniffing, cringing, bristling, and snarling.  Martin discloses that Ghost associates death with “something terrible”, from another occasion:  “When the dead came walking, Ghost knew.  He woke me, warned me” [ACoK 515]. So, Bran comforts Jon’s direwolf Ghost with “Don’t be afraid”, words to assure the unsettled Ghost.

 

·        Ghost smells “wolf and tree and boy” before he senses “something else, something terrible.  Death, he knew”.

 

·        Ghost recaptures the scent of his pack when he smells wolf. Upon recognizing the encroaching smell of death, Ghost reacts protectively:  “He cringed back, his hair bristling, and bared his fangs”. 

 

·        Furthermore, Ghost’s signature reaction is baring his fangs because he has no voice to signal a warning, to express fear, or even to attract Jon’s attention.

 

·        In these words are prophesy well-hidden.  Bran hopes to assure Jon that he has nothing to fear from death and darkness when Jon encounters both at some point in the future.  Moreover, Bran insinuates that he will be there when the time comes to ease Jon’s transition to the netherworld.

 

·        Jojen hints at Bran’s potential for wizardry in A Storm of Swords when he says: “To me the gods gave greendreams, and to you . . . you could be more than me, Bran.  You are the winged wolf, and there is no saying how far and how high you might fly . . .  if you had someone to teach you” [ASoS 131].

 

·        Jon as warg shares sensory experiences with Ghost while wearing his skin. Not only may Jon share what Ghost smells, he identifies the smell as if he is a wolf himself.

 

·        On the other hand, Jon Snow recognizes death’s smell.  While at the Fist of the First Men, Hake says, “There’s no smell to cold”.  Jon silently disagrees, recalling his own experience with this smell: “There is, thought Jon remembering the night in the Lord Commander’s chambers.  It smells like death” [514].

 

 

 

 

 

 

“[You] Don’t be afraid” of WHAT? Unclear.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Analyzing the grammatical elements of the sentence offers little clarity. 

The full sentence reads “Don’t be afraid, I like it in the dark”. 

·        The nominative case pronoun “You” is an implied “subject” of the predicate “do not be afraid”.  The implied subject “You”  may refer to either Jon or to Ghost since the pronoun’s spelling “Y – o – u”  remains the same in the plural form, nominative case. 

 

·        A comma joins these two short, simple sentences, and it is a weak punctuation choice for this occasion.  Although a period is the “preferred” end mark to conclude and to separate two complete thoughts linked without a coordinating conjunction or a conjunctive adverb, there are several options for revision to clarify meaning.  Quick editorial fixes are  1.) employ a coordinator:  “Don’t be afraid, and I like it in the dark”;  2.)  replace the comma with a semicolon “Don’t be afraid; I like it in the dark”; 3.) use a subordinator with an optional comma:  Don’t be afraid because I like it in the dark”, or Don’t be afraid, because I like it in the dark”. 

 

·        Each clause has its own subject and its own verb, and Martin presents each clause from a different point-of-view:  “[You] Don’t be afraid” is second person, but “I like it in the dark” is first person.

 

·        These grammatical inconsistencies are an exercise in determining Martin’s deliberate language choices.  In Bran’s telecommunications, Martin seemingly wants his readers to confuse Ghost with Jon and vice versa because the warg bond between boy and wolf is strong.  They think and feel as one.

 

·        Furthermore, these word groupings disclose that Bran perceives the fears of “both” Jon and Ghost, which makes him an empath as well as a telepathist,  and both warg and wolf share fears of the smell of death.

 

·        Or, Bran’s words may inform to the “general”, as in “Don’t be afraid of the smells, or of the weirwood and the boy inside it, or of anything you may see or hear as a warg in this wolf-dream”.

 

·        Detracting from these happy conclusions is “Don’t be afraid, I like it in the dark”. Bran is a child who has had great responsibility placed upon him, and his words are childlike with childlike logic:  “Don’t be afraid of the dark because I like it in the dark”.  That is, if Martin wishes for the readers to find meaning in skewed logic.

 

·        Perhaps Martin unveils the mystery shrouded in ambiguity upon Jon’s waking when Jon himself considers the manner of the fear: “and what about the weirwood with his brother’s face that smelled of death and darkness?” [ACoK  768].

·        Actually, the words are as weighty as they are few.  Bran prophesizes that Jon need not fear the smell of death or the smell of the darkness in the times “to come”.

·        Bran asserts, “Don’t be afraid, I like it in the dark”, words that are part of Lord Brynden’s lessons to Bran in ADwD, when the Last Greenseer lectures “Never fear the darkness” [ADwD  450].

·        In the novel A Clash of Kings, Arya’s POVs parallel Jon’s and Bran’s lessons.  Note in the following sentences how Syrio’s instruction mirrors Bloodraven’s:  “Syrio had told her [Arya] once that darkness could be her friend, and he was right” (ACoK  684). 

Martin has made clear Jon’s fear of darkness and death as evidenced in Jon’s dream of Winterfell’s crypts.  Even though Ghost dislikes the smell of death, Ghost has never behaved in a manner that demonstrates that he fears darkness.

“No one can see you, but you can see them”.

·        The above words are as potent as their forbearers

·        These words are imperative in arguing that Bran reaches Jon Snow from a point in the future, after Bran learns to “see” and to “hear” others who cannot see him nor hear him from the heart tree – and more.

 

For example, Bran revisits his lord father through Winterfell’s heart tree, only on this occasion, Bran does not sit his weirwood throne and he does not have an eager audience curious about his visions.  Alone in his bedchamber, Bran fails again: “He [Eddard] cannot see me, Bran realized, despairing.  He wanted to reach out and touch him, but all he could do was watch and listen.  I am in the tree.  I am inside the heart tree, looking out of its red eyes, but the weirwood cannot talk, so I can’t” [ADwD 459]. 

What follows is a breakdown of Bran’s thoughts professing his failed attempts to reach his father.  After each segment, textual evidence is presented that proves Bran achieves all that he fails to do by the end of his last POV in ADwD.

He [Eddard] cannot see me, Bran realized, despairing . . . but all he could do was watch and listen”.

Bran  watches unseen and unheard by his father. Bran’s frustrations and despair are replaced with a gleeful revelation of his talents to Jon,  “No one can see you, but you can see them”.

 

In Jon’s wolf dream and in Theon’s godswood interactions, Bran moves beyond these restrictions.  Bran’s sorcery allows him ways to let those he blesses recognize him with visual, tactile, olfactory, and/or auditory cues.

“I am in the tree.  I am inside the heart tree, looking out of its red  eyes

 

Bran transforms the expression on Winterfell’s heart tree to resemble his own and endows the weirwood sapling with his likeness.  Consequently, Bran’s sorcery is so convincing that Jon, Theon, and Ghost recognize Bran’s visage in the white bark marked with red sap.

 

 

 

Theon reveals, “And for one strange moment it seemed as if it were Bran’s face carved into the pale trunk of the weirwood, staring down at him with eyes red and wise and sadBran’s ghost, he thought, but that was madness” [ADwD 616].

 

 

 

“He wanted to reach out and touch him"

 

 

 

Even though Bran has no means to reach out and touch his dead father, Bran meets with success when he leans over to touch Ghost between the eyes in Jon’s wolf dream.  Furthermore, Bran touches Theon’s forehead using a red, five-fingered weirwood leaf. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Both with Jon and with Theon, Bran’s greenseeing powers move beyond their limitations in his last POV in ADwD.  The symbolic gesture of touch is Bran’s attempts  to awaken Jon and Theon’s third-eyes.  He wants them to see beyond the “darkness” and look to enlightenment.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Theon reveals, “A leaf drifted down from above, brushed his brow, and landed in the pool.  It floated on the water, red,  five-fingered, like a bloody hand” [ADwD 616]. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“but the weirwood cannot talk, so I can’t”

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bran communicates with Jon telepathically and empathetically, as he does with Theon in lesser degrees.  Bran speaks to Theon with rustling leaves as well as the weirwood’s mouth.

 

 

Theon reveals, “The night was windless, the snow drifting . . . yet the leaves of the heart tree were rustling his name, ‘Theon,’ they seemed to whisper, ‘Theon’.

The old gods, he thought.  They know meThey know my name.  I was Theon of House Greyjoy.  I was a ward of Eddard Stark, a friend and brother to his children” [ADwD 616].

 ‘. . . Bran,’ the tree murmured”.

They know.  The gods know.  They saw what I did” [ADwD 616].

·        After Bran’s final POV in A Dance with Dragons, Bran secures a mental bond with Theon that evolves into a mystical, even spiritual, communion with the heart tree in Winterfell’s godswood.  With Bran wearing the guise of an ancient weirwood thousands of years old, Bran relates to the Turncloak in the present time of the novel’s action. 

·        Evidently, the rules for engaging another in the past and for engaging another in the present time are different, each with its own restrictions and limitations, for humans and for greenseers. Each sees in time through eyes uniquely his own:  Jon is trapped in the river of time, Bran has the weirwood’s eyes: “seasons pass in the flutter of a moth’s wing, and past, present, and future are one” [ADwD 458].

 

·        Bran gains Jon’s attention in Jon’s wolf dream, which Bran likely revisits from a point in the future. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bran Opens Jon’s Third Eye

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Don’t be afraid, I like it in the dark. No one can see you, but you can see them. But first you have to open your eyes. See? Like this. And the tree reached down and touched him”.

·        Because Bran influences and inspires Jon’s wolf dream, the greenseer in the tree leans over to touch Ghost between the eyes, a symbolic gesture that compels the warg to open his third eye, after which the forest setting suddenly vanishes.

Bran deftly executes opening Jon’s third-eye in a wolf dream, which is unlike Bran’s own painful experience when the three-eyed crow forces open Bran’s third-eye in a dream, ordering Bran again to “Fly or die"!

After Bran prays to the Old Gods to send him dreamless sleep, Bran receives an answer by way of a “nightmare” not a dream, and Bran thinks, “they [the Old Gods] mocked his hopes, for the nightmare they sent was worse than any wolf dream” [260].  The pitiless three-eyed crow attacks a pleading Bran with his “terrible sharp beak,” blinding both Bran’s eyes.  Then, the three-eyed crow pecks at Bran’s brow”, finally wrenching out “slimy . . . bits of bone and brain” [260].  This sorcery allows Bran to see again, through all his eyes. 

What materializes in the vision with which the three-eyed crow blesses Bran is pure terror: Bran relives his crippling fall, and even more frightening, Bran sees “the golden man” who saves Bran, then drops him, excusing his murderous act with these words: “The things I do for love” [260]

In actuality, Bran’s nightmare has inspiration from real events that he experienced recently in his daily life, and what Bran “hears” has such an impact on Bran that he becomes physically ill, unable to breathe, his blood roaring in is ears

 

Visiting guests Cley Cerwin and his knights are joking about Stannis making his claim to the throne based upon Joffrey’s bastardy.

 

Several key sentences bandied about by the bannermen evocate a visible reaction from Bran:

 

1.       “Queen Cersei bedded her brother” [259].

 

2.      “Small wonder he’s [Joffrey] faithless, with the Kingslayer for a Father” [259].

 

3.      “the gods hate incest.  Look how they brought down the Targaryens” [260].

 

Sadly, in three lines, Martin sums up what Bran witnesses from outside the window of the gargoyle guarded tower:  Bran’s vision, sent via the wizardry of the three-eyed crow deliberately after Cley and his knights jolt Bran’s waking memory, is evidence of incest, proof that the Queen and the Kingslayer are guilty as charged, but more importantly, the three-eyed crow imparts to Bran undeniable verification of the identity of the golden knight who causes Bran to fall.

 

A greenseer must learn to see and to acknowledge what is true, no matter how painful the truth may be.  Bran buries his most unpleasant memory deep in his subconscious, disguising it in darkness, choosing not to acknowledge to himself what he now knows for sure to be true. 

 

Even after the agony of his nightmare,  Bran is not keen on acceptance; however, Bran denies many truths about himself, something that Jojen Reed learns while educating a reluctant Bran on his powers.  Bran gets angry at Jojen’s talk of Bran as a warg in Summer, and he doesn’t understand how to open his third-eye.  Nor does he share with the Reeds, or anyone else, that the Kingslayer caused his fall.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by evita mgfs
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“And suddenly he was back in the mountains, his paws sunk deep in a drift of snow as he stood upon the edge of a great precipice. Before him the Skirling Pass opened up into airy emptiness, and a long vee-shaped valley lay spread beneath him like a quilt, awash in all the colors of an autumn afternoon”.

 

 

·        Bran replaces the forest with a prime location from a vantage point atop the Skirling Pass that overlooks the valley and the Milkwater where the wildlings are massing.  Bran gifts the warg in Ghost a “bird’s eye view”, which suggests Bran’s flying lessons in which he sees through a raven’s eyes from high in the sky over the Cave of Skulls.  Therefore, Martin evidences Bran’s greensight to reveal the status of his powers as of ADwD and beyond.

·        Ghost’s paws sunk deep into the snow assures that he is well-grounded and balanced on his perch, all of which safeguards him from the eagle’s surprise attack and prevents the bird of prey from forcing him to fall from the precipice to his death.

·        Bran transports wolf and warg from the forest to a location on the Skirling Pass closer to the camp where Jon dreams.  Bran’s magic comports them through time as the trees and their greenseers experience it.

 

 

Mirroring Castle Black

 

 

 

A vast blue-white wall plugged one end of the vale, squeezing between the mountains as if it had shouldered them aside, and for a moment he thought he had dreamed himself back to Castle Black. Then he realized he was looking at a river of ice several thousand feet high. Under that glittering cold cliff was a great lake, its deep cobalt waters reflecting the snowcapped peaks that ringed it”.

                                                                                                          

·        Jon’s view from above makes him think of Castle Black and the Wall, especially the details of the blue colors.  Although the Wall turns many colors, the shades of blue are apt because of Ygritte’s story on Bael the Bard claiming a perfect blue winter rose from the Winterfell’s ice gardens.

·        Martin associates Lyanna Stark with blue winter roses when Prince Rhaegar chooses her as the queen of love and beauty.

·        Khaleesi has a vision while in the House of Dust of a blue flower lodged in a chink of ice believed to be the Wall.

 

 

A Host of Thousands

 

 

“There were men down in the valley, he saw now; many men, thousands, a huge host. Some were tearing great holes in the half-frozen ground, while others trained for war. He watched as a swarming mass of riders charged a shield wall, astride horses no larger than ants”.

 

 

·        The thousands that comprise a huge host prove that the spear wife Ygritte did not lie to Jon Snow when she says, “Hundreds and thousands, more than you ever saw, crow” [ACoK 744].

 

 

 

 

Sights, Sounds, and Smells

 

 

“The sound of their mock battle was a rustling of steel leaves, drifting faintly on the wind. Their encampment had no plan to it; he saw no ditches, no sharpened stakes, no neat rows of horse lines. Everywhere crude earthen shelters and hide tents sprouted haphazardly, like a pox on the face of the earth. He spied untidy mounds of hay, smelled goats and sheep, horses and pigs, dogs in great profusion. Tendrils of dark smoke rose from a thousand cookfires”.

 

 

·        Jon witnesses the free folk through Ghost’s sensory perceptions, seeing, hearing, and smelling through a direwolf’s eyes, ears, and nose, respectively.

·        Jon observes disorganization:  “Their encampment had no plan to it”.  However, Jon hears Qhorin’s observations that may influence Jon even in a dream.  The Halfhand says, “they have no discipline” [ACoK 764].

 

 

The Call of the Wildlings

 

 

 

“This is no army, no more than it is a town. This is a whole people come together”.

 

 

The vision Bran sends to Jon is the massing of wildlings, a motley assortment of a people and all they own amid disorganized leadership.   Families gather kith and kin, risking all to cross the Wall and to take on the Night’s Watch to do so.

As Jon scrutinizes the “godless savages” whose “treachery is renowned” [ADwD 713], according to Septon Cellador,   Jon perceives that these savages’ lack of discipline cripples them.  Bran might want Jon to see beyond the myths – beyond the darkness that blinds most men – and recognize that these warriors have families, “There are children in that camp, hundreds of them thousands, women as well . . . mothers and grandmothers, widows and maids . . .” [ADwD  712].

The mournful cry Ghost sings at the beginning of Jon’s dream is the preface Bran uses to evocate in Jon “ a deep ache of emptiness, a sense of incompleteness”, feelings of losing those he loves, his siblings, his parents, his Sworn Brothers.

Bran emphasizes mortality, represented by humanity, giants, and mythical beasts, otherwise the despised foes of the Night’s Watch preparing to battle and preparing to risk their lives for a purpose.  Bran imparts to Jon that these free folk are as vulnerable as any people who face a “seemingly” undefeatable, supernatural force.

Jon needs to remember the “ache” for his family he shares with Ghost when Jon faces opposition in his efforts to save the wildlings from the White Walkers and their army of wights in the later novel A Dance with Dragons

Jon reasons with his brothers, appealing to their sympathy for the helpless.  Jon reminds his Night’s Watch brothers of their vows:  “I am the shield that guards the realms of men. . . what are these wildlings, if not men?” [ADwD 715].

Bowen Marsh declares, “For eight thousand years the men of the Night’s Watch have stood upon the Wall and fought these wildlings.  Now you mean to let them pass, to shelter them in our castles, to feed them and clothe them and teach them to fight.  Lord Snow, must I remind you?  You swore an oath” [ADwD 715].

Jon’s assertion that the wildlings “love their children” falls on deaf ears.

Jon can hardly know at this time that his efforts to save these wildlings will result in his death by those Night’s Watch men he calls his brothers.

But does the greenseer Bran know the fate awaiting Jon?  Bran’s thoughts soothe his brother Jon Snow who dislikes the smells of death and darkness, and both may be planning to cut his life short far too soon. 

Jon must die.  Only then can Jon Snow be reborn with the knowledge Bran has to guide him to leading the realms of men in defeating the Others and their minions.

Just as Jon infiltrates the wildling ranks, Jon will die and rise to face the dead army as one of them, albeit transformed.

 

 

Giants and Mammoths

 

 

“Across the long lake, one of the mounds moved. He watched it more closely and saw that it was not dirt at all, but alive, a shaggy lumbering beast with a snake for a nose and tusks larger than those of the greatest boar that had ever lived. And the thing riding it was huge as well, and his shape was wrong, too thick in the leg and hips to be a man”.

 

 

·        To Jon’s amazement, he sees for the first time mythical beings featured in Old Nan’s stories. The mythical giants are riding the mythical mammoths.  Consequently, Jon’s wolf dream confirms their existence.

·        Bran likely enjoys imparting this vision to Jon, especially since they share memories of a past. 

·        Bran conveys a sense of wonder, which he hopes will instigate Jon’s feelings of appreciation for these living men and creatures, and Jon will see value in preserving these entities that Bran knows are doomed to extinction.

 

 

 

The Eagle Attacks

 

 

 

“Then a sudden gust of cold made his fur stand up, and the air thrilled to the sound of wings. As he lifted his eyes to the ice-white mountain heights above, a shadow plummeted out of the sky. A shrill scream split the air. He glimpsed blue-grey pinions spread wide, shutting out the sun...

“Ghost!” Jon shouted, sitting up. He could still feel the talons, the pain. “Ghost, to me!”

 

 

Even though Bran sets Ghost firmly on a precipice that overlooks the wildlings gathering, the greenseer places Ghost in a vulnerable position where the direwolf is a visible target that can be easily spotted by the sharp eyes of a predatory eagle warged by a wildling. Bran is unable to divert the eagle’s attack of Ghost, which may divulge the limitations visited upon the greenseer while connecting through a wolf dream. 

 

 

Furthermore, Bran cannot alter the past, for if he could, he would surely spare Ghost from suffering injury from the eagle’s attack.  However, Bloodraven cannot prevent Bran’s fall from the Tower, yet Bran acknowledges when he witnesses the shattered gargoyles strewn across the yard and broken into so many pieces that “it made him wonder how he was alive at all” [ACoK 964].

 

 

 Bran’s observation suggests that even though the three-eyed crow cannot intervene to stop the inevitable, the last greenseer manages to lessen the impact on Bran’s body, sparing him from certain death.  In such a way, Bran lessens the damage the eagle’s talons have on Ghost’s body, sparing Ghost the fatality of a broken neck.

 

 

·        Jon’s wolf dream ends abruptly and painfully when “a sudden gust of cold made his fur stand up, and the air thrilled to the sound of wings”.

·        Qhorin’s interest in Jon’s dream is keen, and he presses for more details:  “Tell me all that you remember, from first to last” [ACoK  768].

·        Jon is unsettled by Qhorin’s intense interrogation over what Jon believes is “just a dream”.

·        It is Qhorin who gives a name to Jon’s experience:  “A wolf dream”.

·        Jon is reassured when none of the rangers laugh at him, but Jon dislikes Ebben wondering if Jon is, in fact, a “skinchanger”.  Jon’s memories of skinchangers and wargs belong in “Old Nan’s stories, not in the world he had lived in all his life.  Yet here, in this strange bleak wilderness of rock and ice, it was not hard to believe” [ACoK 768].

·        Qhorin supposes that Jon’s dream may reveal what Jon and the rangers already suspected about the gathering wildlings thanks to informative sources. But Qhorin also states prophetically, “Or it may be that you saw what waits for us a few hours farther on.  Tell me” [768].

·        Qhorin latches onto a detail from Jon’s dream that confuses the dreamer:  “There was a weirwood with my brother’s face” [768].  From this Qhorin determines, “The cold winds are rising.  Mormont feared as much.  Benjen Stark felt it as well.  Dead men walk and the trees have eyes again”.

·        Qhorin’s observation links two profound and supernatural events, and because the dead are walking, the old gods of the north and their greenseers are manning the trees, watching through the eyes carved by the singers.

 

 

As the rangers continue their sojourn, Jon silently frets for his direwolf Ghost who has not returned to his side after the eagle attacks him in Jon’s wolf dream.  Jon stifles his urges to call out for his wolf, knowing that the men must travel quietly so that they do not attract unwanted attention.

Upon starting their descent of the Skirling Pass, Squire Dahlbridge spies the “eagle perched on a spine of rock above them”, studying their movements from a safe distance.  Even though the eagle warged by a wildling knows the rangers’ location, Qhorin continues, not revealing to them his reason for not turning back for Castle Black.

 

 

None of the rangers question the Halfhand’s orders or suspect his motives, least of all Jon Snow, on whose behalf the Halfhand acts.  Qhorin anticipates they will come upon an injured Ghost. 

 

 

Jon is the first to glimpse his direwolf safely blending into the snow and concealed between and beneath two boulders.  Martin demonstrates Qhorin has a vested interest in the Stark bastard and his direwolf when he barks orders at Jon and the others in his ministering to Ghost’s wounds. 

 

 

After, Qhorin commands the ranging party to abandon the mission and return to Castle Black, which surprises Jon who never realizes why Qhorin delays their retreat.  Alas, Jon snow proves that he knows nothing because he never perceives the generous actions of his commander who delays orders for the sake of a boy and his wolf.

 

 

 

 

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Qhorin Halfhand’s Interest in Jon Snow and his Direwolf Ghost

Qhorin Halfhand reveals a pointed interest in Jon and his direwolf Ghost from their first meeting.

 

 

“Jon knew Qhorin the instant he saw him though they had never met”, and the Halfhand’s observations of Mormont’s steward:  “You are Jon Snow.  You have your father’s look . . . It is s said a direwolf runs with you” [627].

 Martin gradually informs readers of the Halfhand’s knowledge of beyond the Wall, of the wildlings, of the children of the forest, of sorcery, and of much more.   He is cognizant of Jon and Ghost’s importance on this ranging mission. Moreover, Martin insinuates that the Halfhand suspects Jon’s Stark heritage partners him with his direwolf Ghost who are, together literally and figuratively, an answer to the survival of the realms of men if only Jon realizes his warging gift. 

 

 

Qhorin selects Jon to join his personal ranging party, justifying his option to the Lord Commander, “The old gods are still strong beyond the Wall, the gods of the First Men . . . and the Starks” [633].

 

 

 The sooner Jon discovers his powers, the better service he will be to the Night’s Watch at large. 

 

 

As a matter of fact, Qhorin even orders Jon to sleep on the eve of Jon’s wolf dream: “But enough talk. You ought be sleeping. We have leagues to go, and dangers to face. You will need your strength.”

 

 

Even though “Jon did not think sleep would come easily” he concedes “the Halfhand was right” [[ACoK 771].

 

 

Qhorin Halfhand knows Jon is a warg even if Jon does not.

Jon’s Ebon Night’s Watch Cloak and Ghost’s White Fur Coat

Martin definitely uses Jon’s cloak in symbolic ways.  For instance, on the Skirling Pass, “He [Jon] found a place out of the wind, beneath an overhang of rock, and took off his cloak to use it for a blanket. ‘Ghost,’ he called. ‘Here. To me.’  He [Jon] always slept better with the great white wolf beside him; there was comfort in the smell of him, and welcome warmth in that shaggy pale fur” [[ACoK 771].

 

 

Jon’s cloak suffices for warmth, but Jon prefers “the great white wolf” whose smell, whose warmth, and whose touch comforts Jon, helping Jon to sleep better.

On the Fist of the First Men, Jon hears the howling of wolves, and the sound evocates a physical response from Jon Snow:  “It made the hairs rise along the back of his neck” [515].  Coincidentally, Ghost reacts in a like manner when “He was smelling death.  He cringed back, his hair bristling, and bared his fangs” [].

 

 

During Jon’s wolf dream, the Stark bastard shares his direwolf Ghost’s skin to enable him to see, to feel, and to hear as wolves do. Just so, turnabout is fair play.  After the eagle injures Ghost in the wolf-dream, Jon tears a strip of black cloth from his own cloak to bandage his Ghost’s wounds, thereby symbolically sharing his own skin with Ghost as Ghost permits Jon to share his wolf-skin, or white fur:

“Qhorin poured wine into the ragged gashes the eagle had left him [Ghost], but Jon wrapped his arms around him and murmured soothing words, and soon enough, the wolf quieted.  By the time they’d ripped a strip from Jon’s cloak to wrap the wounds, full dark had settled” [ACoK 771]. 

Furthermore, Martin repeats the verb “wrap” in past tense as “Jon wrapped his arms around him [Ghost]”.  When a skin of one form or another is not easily available, the loving arms of the warg Jon Snow makes a welcome substitute to quiet Ghost.  After all, Jon Snow prefers sleeping close to his “great white wolf” as there is “comfort in the smell of him” and warmth from his shaggy white fur.

In these few of many examples, Martin demonstrates the bond that Jon and Ghost share on a plane of consciousness that has nothing to do with warging or slipping skins.  They exist as one, and Ghost’s fur is Jon’s cloak just as Jon’s cloak is Ghost’s fur.

 

 

Bran as a Wizard-in-Training

Readers may anticipate how Bran will perform as a wizard-in-training by recalling Bran’s behavior as a student under Maester Luwin. A precocious pupil, Bran is not afraid to ask questions and express doubts if the answers he receives are illogical, misinformed, and/or unpopular.

Bran seeks out others more capable of providing insight that will clarify for his child’s mind the nature of his confusing dreams and unexplainable yearnings that cause him to fear the unknown rather than embrace what knowledge his fears disguise.  Old Nan, Osha, Meera, and Jojen are sources that contradict Maester Luwin’s teachings, and eventually Bran determines that his maester, despite all his Citadel education, forged chain links, personal experiences, and good intentions, is only “human”, ill-equipped to minister to a greenseeing prodigy.

Bran’s Lessons and the Night’s Watch Vows

Bran’s lessons with BR and Leaf echo the vows of the Night’s Watch, an insight that may speak to the influences contributing to their origination and composition.  Although a simple explanation for the similarities in the three-eyed crow’s phrasing of his lessons to Bran may be that Lord Brynden was once a brother and a Lord Commander  of the Night’s Watch himself; consequently, the Last Greenseer knows the vows well, and these memories imprinted on his conscious naturally rely on his accessing these sentence constructions. 

Or, the magic that is woven into the ice that built the Wall comes from the old gods, the children, and the greenseers, all of whom may have had and still do have a vested interest in those whose responsibilities are to man the Wall. 

The Watchers on the Wall have much in common with the “watchers in the trees”, or as Qhorin Halfhand phrases these things,  “. . . the trees have eyes again” [ACoK], a condition that is the result of the dead walking.

The Night’s Watch Vows and the Greenseers’ Vows

Night’s Watch:  Night gathers, and now my watch begins.

Greenseer:  The dead walk, the Long Night gathers, and now my greensight begins.

“The singers carved eyes into their heart trees to awaken them, and those are the first eyes a new greenseer learns to use . . . but in time you will see well beyond the trees themselves” [ADwD 458-459 ].

Night’s Watch:  It shall not end until my death.

Greenseer:  It shall not end until my death.

One day I will be like him [Lord Brynden, half corpse, half tree].  The thought filled Bran with dread” [ADwD 455].

Night’s Watch:  I shall have no wife, hold no lands, father no children.

Greenseer:  I shall have no wife, hold no lands, father no children.

Bran:  “What was he now? Only Bran the broken, Brandon of House Stark, prince of a lost kingdom, lord of a burned castle, heir to ruins” [ADwD 455].

Night’s Watch:  I shall wear no crowns and win no glory.

Greenseer:  I shall wear no crowns and win no glory.

I was going to be a knight, Bran remembered. I used to run and climb and fight” [ADwD].

“Bran,” he said sullenly.  Bran the Broken.  ‘Brandon Stark’.  The  cripple boy.  ‘The Prince of Winterfell.’  Of Winterfell burned and tumbled, its people scattered and slain” [ASoS 126].

Night’s Watch:  I shall live and die at my post.

Greenseer:  I shall live and die on my weirwood throne.

  Leaf to Bran: “Most of him has gone into the tree . . .” [ ADwD  449].

Night’s Watch:  I am the sword in the darkness.

Greenseer:  I am enlightenment amid ignorance.

Jojen tells Bran that greenseers can “see the truth that lies beneath the world” [ASoS 131].

Night’s Watch:  I am the watcher on the walls.

Greenseer:  I am the eyes in the trees.

“Dead men walk and the trees have eyes again” [ACoK].

Night’s Watch:  I am the fire that burns against the cold,

Greenseer:  I am the force against the dead,

Leaf to Bran:  “Do not seek to call him [Eddard Stark] back from death” [ADwD 458].

Night’s Watch:  The light that brings the dawn,

Greenseer:  The knowledge to return the dawn.

Jojen says to Bran, “You are the winged wolf, and there is no saying how far and how high you might fly . . .” [ASoS].

Night’s Watch:  The horn that wakes the sleepers,

Greenseer:  The voice that informs the unknowing,

Jojen says to Bran,  “. . . the trees remembered all their songs and spells, their histories and prayers, everything they knew about this world.  Maesters will tell you that the weirwoods are sacred to the old gods.  The singers believe they are the old gods” [ADwD 450].

Night’s Watch:  The shield that guards the realms of men.

Greenseer:  The greenseer born to save the realms of men

“Darkness will be your cloak, your shield, your mother’s milk” [ADwD 450].

Night’s Watch:  I pledge my life and honor to the Night’s Watch, for this night and all nights to come.

Greenseer:  I pledge my life and honor to the Long Night, for this night and all those to come.

Leaf to Bran on the sacrifice made by the last greenseer: “For us, for you, for the realms of men” [ADwD  449].

Jon Remains in Darkness despite Bran’s Vision in a Wolf-Dream

“No one can see you, but you can see them. But first you have to open your eyes”.

Alas, for all Bran’s impressive wizardry, Jon is not ready to open his eyes.

Martin makes clear just how little impact Jon’s wolf-dream and Bran’s efforts have on him.  Although Jon wonders about Bran’s face in the weirwood sapling, about his embodiment of Ghost, and about what he sees and feels while sharing Ghost’s skin, Jon refuses to acknowledge that he is a warg, skinchanger, or beastling.

When Ebben draws such a conclusion, Jon assumes the ranger is referencing the eagle that Jon says attacked Ghost.  Bran may have magically opened Jon’s third eye, but he has no desire to explore this mystique.  Mastering his warg powers and achieving enlightenment are not priorities at this time.

“You know nothing, Jon Snow” is the affirmation that Jon opts for and finds comfort in.  Some risks are too costly, and Jon prefers the bliss of ignorance, the protection of darkness.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Hi Evita.  Firstly I’d like to say thank you for starting this thread, and all the work you’ve done and continue to do.   I enjoyed re-reading these chapters with a particular search in mind, and hope to have contributed a little at least.

Secondly, you’re new break down of Jon’s dream and Bran’s involvement is wonderful, and really opens up some new [or old.] possibilities to look out for.  Plus all the musings about the howling, cloak symbolism, Qhorin, Ghost connections etc....... great work!    

I love the idea that the restrictions in his weirwood abilities we are told about by BR are being significantly manipulated by Bran in the form of the wolf dreams.  The thought of Bran going back in time to influence things is hard to imagine for many, and takes tremendous foresight and set up by the author.  But I think you make a very strong case that this is indeed what has happened, as you point out, very clever choice of wording that need examining against other connected text.  Bran’s last chapter in particular in packed full of such text, and I enjoyed your break down off the back of this, everything mentioned that he supposedly can’t do, we’ve seen him do already. [In typical George style I suppose.]

Thank you for this new instalment, it was excellent and I hope to add more after a second read.   :) 

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Hi Evita.  Firstly I’d like to say thank you for starting this thread, and all the work you’ve done and continue to do.   I enjoyed re-reading these chapters with a particular search in mind, and hope to have contributed a little at least.

Secondly, you’re new break down of Jon’s dream and Bran’s involvement is wonderful, and really opens up some new [or old.] possibilities to look out for.  Plus all the musings about the howling, cloak symbolism, Qhorin, Ghost connections etc....... great work!    

I love the idea that the restrictions in his weirwood abilities we are told about by BR are being significantly manipulated by Bran in the form of the wolf dreams.  The thought of Bran going back in time to influence things is hard to imagine for many, and takes tremendous foresight and set up by the author.  But I think you make a very strong case that this is indeed what has happened, as you point out, very clever choice of wording that need examining against other connected text.  Bran’s last chapter in particular in packed full of such text, and I enjoyed your break down off the back of this, everything mentioned that he supposedly can’t do, we’ve seen him do already. [In typical George style I suppose.]

Thank you for this new instalment, it was excellent and I hope to add more after a second read.   :) 

Thank you. WIZZ SMITH.  You are awesome!:wub:

Thank you - yes, I worked for several months - cross referencing texts and "very" carefully wording commentary because I wanted to impress that I am not asserting that Bran can change past events.  However, when he visits them, he tries to emphasize family.  

After realizing Bran's wizardry, many other things became clear to me by virtue of Martin hiding clues in plain sight.

Bran is “A Ghost in Winterfell” [along with Theon and others], which Martin insinuates early in AGoT.

 

Bran has an affinity for the name “Ghost:

 

Jon's wolf, the white one, was Ghost. Bran wished he had thought of that first, even though his wolf wasn't white”.

 

Bran likes being invisible:

 

“None of the guards could climb half so well as Bran . . .   Most of the time they never saw him anyway  .People never looked up. That was another thing he liked about climbing; it was almost like being invisible”.

 

Martin aptly uses the noun “haunt” as the subject of the first sentence to follow:

 

“His [Bran’s] favorite haunt was the broken tower. Once it had been a watchtower [the trees have eyes], the tallest in Winterfell. A long time ago, a hundred years before even his father had been born, a lightning strike had set it afire”.

 

Actually, “A Ghost in WF” is as literal as “a Stark in Winterfell”:  Bran is as invisible as a ghost when he “becomes the grey stones of the castle walls, knitted with powerful magic.  Martin artfully humanizes the castle whose windows are like eyes.   Likewise, Bran is the heart tree, watching through eyes the Singers carved into its face thousands of years ago.

 

Bran is metaphorically Winterfell, which Maester Luwin likens to a tree, a significant comparison that parallels the weirwood and the castle:

 

“The place had grown over the centuries like some monstrous stone tree . . . and its branches were gnarled and thick and twisted, its roots sunk deep within the earth” (79).

 

Maester Luwin suggests that Winterfell’s walls and towers and courtyards have been added over hundreds of years, and Winterfell’s expansion is like “some monstrous stone tree”,  perhaps one that has grown too large too quickly.  The adjective “monstrous” has ugly connotations.  “Gnarled . . . thick . . . twisted” all insinuate that the castle is showing her age.  Winterfell’s roots are sunk deep into the earth, and these roots represent a strong foundation reinforced by the crypts beneath the fortress.

 

Many of the events that occur  in “A Ghost in Winterfell” are attributable to Bran who promises Lady Hornwood that “Winterfell remembers!”  Bran may not wield a dagger or a sword, but his weapon is no less deadly.  Bran manipulates – perhaps even embodies – the snow itself, an instrument of death Bran masters, along with the cold.

 

·        The snowfall escalates in earnest when Lady Dustin invades the crypts, an indication of Bran’s disapproval.

 

The man-at-arms who falls to his death marched north with Roger Ryswell, and Ramsay’s bitches find him at the base of the inner wall, buried beneath the snow.  Ryswell calls him a “drunk”, blaming his broken neck on his own folly for pissing off the wall.

 

But Theon is suspicious, especially since the Ryswell man-at-arms climbs  the snow-slick steps of the battlement in the  black night during unending snowfall.  It makes no sense.  What Theon insinuates by wondering to himself is that the man-at-arms climbed the battlements to tryst with one of Able’s women.

 

Regardless, the man-at-arms urinates upon the wall, soiling the very bricks Bran animates with his magic.  No doubt the greenseer is sensitive to any behavior that is disrespectful to Winterfell and House Stark.

 

Whoever pushes this man-at-arms from the battlements, Bran helps to guide her hand.  Bran’s passive-aggressive means of retribution mirrors Bran’s unhappy fall from the broken tower. 

 

Moreover, Grey Jeyne [Stark and Poole] had eaten most of the man’s face, a miserable fate the man-at-arms shares with Weese after Jaqen, a spiritual guide likely sent by the forces that are the old gods with the intent to direct Arya towards Braavos, delivers a gift to Arya at HarrenHell in ACoK.

 

The ugly dog devours Weese’s face – appropo with Arya’s eventual relationship with the Faceless Men of Braavos.  But the irony is that Weese threatened to remove Arya’s eyes and her tongue to feed to his bitch, and Weese twists Arya’s ear;  Martin brilliantly adds a karmic element to Weese’s comeuppance as his loyal dog turns against her master by punishing him with similar threats he waged at Arya.

 

The “ugly dog” is a bitch, an interesting parallel that speaks to Arya’s very first magically-inspired “face” – the Ugly Girl, and Ramsay’s bitch Grey Jeyne..

 

Bran also manipulates or embodies the wind, the grey mists, and the falling snow.

 

Ser Aenys Frey’s squire is found naked and dead from exposure in the old castle’s lichyard, his face so obscured by hoarfrost that it looks like a mask.  The squire’s death is likewise blamed upon too much drink, which causes him to become lost and disoriented in the snow storm. 

 

Theon doubts this scenario as well, especially since the squire is naked.  Again, Bran takes offense to what may have been the squire’s ill behavior while in service to a knight.  Bran resents someone who is blessed to pursue his dreams of knighthood and then abuses these honors. Bran may have been a squire in training to be a knight had he not been pushed from the broken tower.

 

Furthermore, the Frey squire may lose his clothes when he secretly meets a spearwife in the lichyard to receive sexual favors.  This act of disrespect to Winterfell, to the Stark in WF, and to its dead may remind Bran of how he came upon  Jaime and Cersei fornicating in the broken tower.  It’s easy to imagine Bran’s anger over witnessing even more vile behavior, especially by a Frey’s squire, and Bran does not pity the Frey camp for their many transgressions against the Starks.

 

Yet again, heavy snow conceals the corpse.  The masked face is also a nod to Bran who watches from behind a weirwood’s mask.  Likewise, the abused faces of the Ryswell man-at-arms and the Frey squire correlate with the “faceless” old gods of the north.

 

Then here's this - I think it is a veiled clue about how the greenseers and children animate the dead opposed to the Others controlling the dead.

This is my issue with Coldhands:  he is a wight by virtue of descriptors, and like other wights, he has "no voice"!  The dead men cannot speak because they do not breath air! This is why CH conceals his mouth behind a scarf - not to disguise his features.

So, Bloodraven employs magic - perhaps a glamour - which allows Bran and company to "believe" the voice they hear is that of the wight.

Any other ideas here?

Think now of Jon Snow's resurrection.

Then, this is mega important - AND I HAVE NOT READ IT ANYWHERE:

Bran appears more powerful than his teacher only because of his youth.  BR’s powers are “different” and the tree has been absorbing them, which means that Bran will  acquire them by default.

Bloodraven is the Last Greenseer TO SIT A WEIRWOOD THRONE!

Bran is/will be mobile - he is/will not be bound  by  a weirwood throne.

My analysis of Jon and Ghost's connection is a refutation of those who believe Ghost must die to expel Jon's warg.

Well, yes - Ghost will likely die  but Ghost's name is blinding foreshadowing.

Jon's warg returns to his frozen body.

Upon Ghost's death, Bloodraven wargs Ghost's corpse.

Somehow, the fire magic and the ice magic Bran absorbs through the trees will allow for a wrinkle that prevents Jon rising as an Other yet rising as something more, and something less - he and Ghost are dead, yet they breathe  and they speak and they retain an essence of their souls.  [The Faceless Men master a powerful magic spell that allows them to preserve and retain the faces of the dead, which is an unfortunate limitation but it is their answer to the wights and reanimating the dead.]

The Targaryen blood of the dragon and magic keep Jon's heart from turning to ice. 

But Jon's warg cannot return  to undead Ghost, but BR can, which is the whole purpose of Ghost being born with the the Stark litter.and the albino pup's strategically timed separation from his packmates.  [I am leaning toward crackpottery .. . but think  of those crypts - and Winterfell itself - a magical castle animated -- humanized - the  waters from the hot springs flowing though a network of pipes like the hot blood flowing through the veins of a human].

More later.  I cannot wait to read your ideas.

I am addressing your earlier posts and all the others that were posted after I went dark.  Now, keep in mind how long it takes me to write.  I promise not to take as long as George RR Martin and his TWoW.  

Tee Hee.:(

 

Edited by evita mgfs
misspelling

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More later.  I cannot wait to read your ideas.

I am addressing your earlier posts and all the others that were posted after I went dark.  Now, keep in mind how long it takes me to write.  I promise not to take as long as George RR Martin and his TWoW.  

Tee Hee.:(

 

Thank you Evita !  I look forward to some great chat.  I also muse far too long over my posts, and you've given me a lot to think about/research, so I will also mention the fact that my deliberations and posts can take some time, however, this subject fascinates me and I love what you've researched here, so I will re-read, take notes, and get back to you.  Thank you again for a great read !  :D   

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:wub:

Dear Posters:  I apologize for my absence from our thread, and I am trying to make it up to everyone because the responses have been ASTOUNDING!

I think we are ‘breaking new ground’ – presenting ORIGINAL THOUGHT and FRESH, HITHERTO UNDISCOVERED [OR DECLARED] INTERPRETATIONS.

 

THANK YOU for sharing these inspired and scholarly works with me!  I am indeed “honored” to meet everyone – and great work inspires great work.

Do not fear sharing any idea – no judgement here. 

[P.S.  I have been having trouble losing posts, so I am taking everything into a Word document just in case all four pages of this vanishes overnight!  I did reply and submit on this thread Thursday and Friday, but the posts have disappeared!]

Edited by evita mgfs
It was a mess!

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Very nice job! It's interesting that these screams are coming from the mouth of birds. There are a lot of references to Bran-As-A-Bird throughout ASOIAF, especially in AGOT Bran II. From the way Bran is said to perch on the walls of WF, to it just being Bran and the birds who knows the secrets of WF, to the Old Nan Icarus story that Bran then "reenacts" (with Jaime Lannister's help) to some other ones, Bran is likened to a bird quite a bit. And later the basket Hodor carries Bran is a like a bird's cage.

 

 

(and not so favorite mortals) Basically they are all up in everyone's business.

 

As for Bran and Theon, it's a good argument that Bran is influencing Theon with his divine-ish whispers. But to what end? For Athena and Odysseus, it's to get the King of Ithica home (cause all manner of hell hath broken loose). There's an end game that Athena is in favor of, in other words. Bran may not have an end game given that he's new to this whole situation, so we have to wonder what Bloodraven's endgame is since he is directing Bran. There might be an argument somewhere that Bran has to help Reek transform back into Theon so that Theon could be offered up in sacrifice for his King's Blood. While blood is blood no matter what your name is, it would be poetic (not to mention tragic) that Theon's blood while he is Reek would not work (since identity is such a HUGE part of ASOIAF) but Theon having come back to himself as Theon is what allows his king's blood to work, for whatever purpose. Not quite sure it's what's going to happen since I tend to think that there is another figure who's King's blood is going to be useful for what most people ascribe to Theon but....always possible.

 

 

 

That is full of awesome right there.

 

There are some other Theban cycle parallels, not to distract from the purpose of the thread as a whole, though.

 

You've got "Esgred" as the unintentional incest and I agree since she's obviously Asha. But I also think Asha serves as a bit of a Antigone figure. The Oedipus cycle (the most well known cycle at least) by Sophocles is three plays. After Oedipus's fall from grace and his blinding, Thebes is plunged into Civil War. You have two of Oedipus's sons--Etocles and Polynieces--fighting it out for the right to sit their father's throne. It's a very bloody battle and they end up dying on each others swords (naturally). The two brothers were supposed to share in the rule but....yeah, no, that obviously wasn't going to happen. It's not a perfect parallel but you could make the case that this akin to Victarion and Euron, both of whom have a good claim to the throne (Vic by way of birth and Euron by way of charisma) and are fighting for the Throne because Theon has "vanished" from the picture much like Oedipus who is very much alive but has left Thebes in order to pay for his crimes. Euron and Vic are probably going to come to some sort of blows, should Vic make it back from Essos.

 

As for Asha, she's a bit more of an Antigone figure. Bold, stubborn, outspoken, she defies her uncle Creon's orders because she's not meek and passive. Sound familiar? Now in the play she's Oedipus's daughter but the parallels don't have to be exact for it to work. Her story is that she's defying the law in order to honor her fallen brother who is being denied his rights to a proper burial. When Asha learns that Theon is alive, might she not try to set him on the Seastone Chair (which is Theon's by right of birth over Vic and over Euron's charisma) in defiance of all her uncles?

 

If Theon is a good prophet, Bran could help sit him on on the Chair since, generally speaking, if you serve the gods well you are rewarded. Tiresias is blinded for his impiety (by Hera) but given the gift of sight by Zeus; Odysseus has to wander the earth for a long time but is helped along the way by Athena. It adds to Theon being the "godly man" since Bran's status as Old God is becoming solidified. Isn't there an old grove of weirwoods on Pyke somewhere (Nagga's bones?)

:wub:

BearQueen87 said:

There are a lot of references to Bran-As-A-Bird throughout ASOIAF, especially in AGOT Bran II. From the way Bran is said to perch on the walls of WF, to it just being Bran and the birds who knows the secrets of WF, to the Old Nan Icarus story that Bran then "reenacts" (with Jaime Lannister's help) to some other ones, Bran is likened to a bird quite a bit. And later the basket Hodor carries Bran is a like a bird's cage.

Evita said:

Awesome job, BearQueen87!!

Thank you for your astute and on point observations.  Bran is fond of birds, even before his fall.  In “Visions in A Wolf-Dream”, Bran gives Jon via Ghost a bird’s-eye view of the Milkwater.

BEMUSED asserts – and she convinced me – in the thread Winter Fell that Sansa sculpts the walls and towers of Winterfell from an aerial perspective – or a bird’s eye view, even though Sansa NEVER saw Winterfell from such a height. 

Bran inspires Sansa, and she does get into a zone – trance – focusing on her crafting and determining her accuracy.  It is LF who assists, and his sigil is a mockingbird.

Evita said:

HOMERIC CONVENTIONS: DIVINE INSPIRATION

Athena divinely inspires Odysseus WITHOUT skinchanging with him. Bran’s powers will move well beyond needing to share another’s skin in order to persuade him or her to take action.

In Homer’s great epics, the immortal gods and goddesses regularly interfere in the lives of their favorite mortals.

BearQueen87 said:

(and not so favorite mortals) Basically they are all up in everyone's business.

As for Bran and Theon, it's a good argument that Bran is influencing Theon with his divine-ish whispers. But to what end? For Athena and Odysseus, it's to get the King of Ithica home (cause all manner of hell hath broken loose). There's an end game that Athena is in favor of, in other words. Bran may not have an end game given that he's new to this whole situation, so we have to wonder what Bloodraven's endgame is since he is directing Bran. There might be an argument somewhere that Bran has to help Reek transform back into Theon so that Theon could be offered up in sacrifice for his King's Blood. While blood is blood no matter what your name is, it would be poetic (not to mention tragic) that Theon's blood while he is Reek would not work (since identity is such a HUGE part of ASOIAF) but Theon having come back to himself as Theon is what allows his king's blood to work, for whatever purpose. Not quite sure it's what's going to happen since I tend to think that there is another figure who's King's blood is going to be useful for what most people ascribe to Theon but....always possible.

Evita Says in Response to BearQueen87:

The Olympians interfere often, even taking sides during battle.

However, Homer makes it very clear that the King of the Gods, Zeus himself, cannot thwart FATE.  He knows that he cannot save his own son – a demigod - from his death.  Likewise, Thetis cannot prevent Achilles’ death, although she goes to herculean lengths to protect him, dipping the babe in the River Styx while suspending him by holding onto his heel.  She even encourages him from fighting for the Atreides, and she disguises him in girl’s attire – the first “cross-dresser” in the ancient world. 

While patronizing a bazaar, Achilles exposes himself when he spends all his time looking at weapons instead of jewelry and fabrics and perfumes. 

**It is fate that Bloodraven refers to when he tells Bran that he cannot change the past.  Bran cannot alter events to save Ned, Catelyn, and Robb.

Jon, on-the-other-hand, is a different matter.  Jon is at the Wall, and the magic built into the ice fortress is powerful, and growing more powerful because of Bran and in spite of him.  Bran anticipates Jon’s demise, and perhaps he and BR inspire some of the many, many warnings Jon receives, and subsequently ignores.

Just as Bran did not heed the warnings not to climb from his mother, father, maester, and direwolf pup, Jon seemingly thinks he is safe – or in true Jon fashion, he is blind to his own vulnerability and more concerned with getting the wildlings to safety and preparing to battle the armies of the dead.

Jon  has “done right” by the old gods of the north through his self-sacrifices, through his decisions to protect the weak, and through his not violating the laws of hospitality. 

I speculate that the magic in the Wall, that Jon is the only SB not to eat at Craster’s board, and that Bran and Jon shared a closeness far and above the Stark blood in their veins are all contributors to Jon’s resurrection.  Moreover, before Jon leaves Winterfell, he defies Catelyn and enters Bran’s sickroom to say good-bye.  Jon leans over and “kisses” Bran on the lips, a symbolic act that may suggest the co-mingling of breath, of the essence of life.  Later, Bran wakes.  Does Jon’s kiss help Bran grow stronger?  Will Bran now breathe life into Jon’s corpse, in a symbolic sense?

Bran will facilitate Jon’s warging into Ghost, and Jon’s body will be frozen in the ice cells while Bran, via Ghost as the conduit, takes Jon/Ghost into the trees, to the past, present, and future. 

Martin will make a nod to Dicken’s Christmas Carrol, only instead of a different ghost of a Christmas past, present, and future, Bran will guide Jon’s Ghost through what the trees know, what Jon needs to know, and what needs to be done to defeat the Others and their minions.

I picture Jon’s spiritual journey with Bran will resemble that of Jonas’ – “the Receiver of Memory” in the novel The Giver – or the movie, which offers compelling scenes of the character “The Giver” CONNECTING MENTALLY AND EMPATHICALLY with Jonas – sending him memories of all that has BEEN FORGOTTEN in their community, a collective amnesia that members unwittingly live by, never ever knowing what it is like to see the world in color, to feel emotions like love, pain, betrayal, joy, sadness, etc., to hear music, to dance, to sing, and so on!

The only two who will ever know the truth are Jonas and the Giver – until the Giver shows Jonas how to escape, and where he needs to go to restore what has been forgotten, and Jonas embarks on a path fraught with danger – but he is triumphant.  Likewise, Bran will expose Jon to truths, to forgotten knowledge, and to what the fates have in store for him.

King’s Blood/Theon’s Blood/Sacrifices

In Homer’s Odyssey,  in order to speak with the blind prophet Tiresias in the Land of the Dead, Odysseus digs a trench, which he then fills with the blood from a sacrificial goat.  All the dead come charging for the fresh blood, and Odysseus must hold them back so that Tiresias can drink first.

Only after tasting blood can the dead hold speech with the living.

I am not sure if Theon must die.  Some argue that Ghost must die – whatever, Jon will “rise” with his voice, unlike the wights and ColdHands.

  On 6/29/2015, 11:22:30, Mithras said:

I think Theon is George's way of handling the Oedipius myth. Theon is our Oedipius parallel.

Raised away from his home

Had great daddy issues with both Ned and Balon.

Attempted to commit unintended incest with "Esgred"

The younger miller's boy was probably his, so there we have the unintended kinslaying

Ruled in his late "father"s place

Paid heavy price for his sins and crimes

I think as a final phase of his transformation, Theon will be blinded (by the Weeper at the Wall). Because of his broken mind, he was already very susceptible to the supernatural. After the blinding, I expect him to be fully open to Bran's revelations. I expect a raven or two standing on his shoulders and serving as his eyes (along with Bran's). This way, he will turn into a prophet of Bran.

As the prophet of Bran, one thing Theon will do is to go to the Iron Islands and nullify the decisions of the last kingsmoots like Torgon the Latecomer did once. Then, he will warn the ironborn to leave the Old Way for the "Drowned God" would surely destroy them. Aeron will insist on his folly as the priest-king and Bran will destroy Pyke with a Hammer of Waters. There are subtle foreshadowing for this scenario.

 

BearQueen87 said:

That is full of awesome right there.

There are some other Theban cycle parallels, not to distract from the purpose of the thread as a whole, though.

You've got "Esgred" as the unintentional incest and I agree since she's obviously Asha. But I also think Asha serves as a bit of a Antigone figure. The Oedipus cycle (the most well known cycle at least) by Sophocles is three plays. After Oedipus's fall from grace and his blinding, Thebes is plunged into Civil War. You have two of Oedipus's sons--Etocles and Polynieces--fighting it out for the right to sit their father's throne. It's a very bloody battle and they end up dying on each others swords (naturally). The two brothers were supposed to share in the rule but....yeah, no, that obviously wasn't going to happen. It's not a perfect parallel but you could make the case that this akin to Victarion and Euron, both of whom have a good claim to the throne (Vic by way of birth and Euron by way of charisma) and are fighting for the Throne because Theon has "vanished" from the picture much like Oedipus who is very much alive but has left Thebes in order to pay for his crimes. Euron and Vic are probably going to come to some sort of blows, should Vic make it back from Essos.

As for Asha, she's a bit more of an Antigone figure. Bold, stubborn, outspoken, she defies her uncle Creon's orders because she's not meek and passive. Sound familiar? Now in the play she's Oedipus's daughter but the parallels don't have to be exact for it to work. Her story is that she's defying the law in order to honor her fallen brother who is being denied his rights to a proper burial. When Asha learns that Theon is alive, might she not try to set him on the Seastone Chair (which is Theon's by right of birth over Vic and over Euron's charisma) in defiance of all her uncles?

If Theon is a good prophet, Bran could help sit him on on the Chair since, generally speaking, if you serve the gods well you are rewarded. Tiresias is blinded for his impiety (by Hera) but given the gift of sight by Zeus; Odysseus has to wander the earth for a long time but is helped along the way by Athena. It adds to Theon being the "godly man" since Bran's status as Old God is becoming solidified. Isn't there an old grove of weirwoods on Pyke somewhere (Nagga's bones?)

Evita Says in Response to BearQueen87 and Mithras:

GREAT IDEAS, BEARQUEEN AND MITHRAS!

I do believe Martin spins Sophocles’ trilogy, and the author incorporates thematic motifs that appear throughout the tragedies.

Quite a few Martin characters suffer from hubris, which prevents them from acknowledging the truth and admitting they are wrong. This symbolic blindness is manifested in the Stark siblings’ parallel journeys as their teachers implore them to look so that they can see!

But in Antigone, Sophocles affirms through Antigone’s crime that THE LAWS OF THE GODS TRUMP THE LAWS OF MAN.

Respect is due all the dead – the foes deserve a proper burial with funeral rights too.  Men cannot pick and choose.

Tiresias tells King Creon to bury Polynices and exonerate Antigone, or else Creon will pay back “corpse for corpse”.

Of course, Creon’s epiphany comes too late, and he loses his queen and his son.

In these ways, Martin advances similar themes from the Oedipus  trilogy:

1.     The dead must be properly disposed of in accordance with the laws of the gods.  To deny this rite, or to prevent it, or even worse, to abuse, defile, or desecrate a corpse “knowingly” demands divine retribution.  [Think of what happens to the corpses of Ned, Robb, and Catelyn . . . ].

2.    The sins of the father and the mother are visited upon their sons and their daughters.  [Oedipus’ and Jocaste’s sons and daughters are the products of incest and ultimately suffer for the transgressions of their parents.  Think of Jaime and Cersei and the fates of their children.]

3.    Incest, kinslaying, and violating the laws of hospitality and guest rite are offenses punished by the gods, even if the offenses are done unwittingly.  [Oedipus killing his father and marrying his mother are acts he does in ignorance.  Think of Bael the Bard and his son . . .]

Well – all your ideas have given me inspiration, and I excitedly await to read more from the minds of the brilliant scholars who are posing here!

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WIZ-SMITH:  EXCELLENT FINDS!  I am impressed!

You sent me on a major reread and writing mania, and I found even more great stuff courtesy of your great sharing of textual evidences.

In the Jon X chapter you cite, I immediately found even more, especially Ghost rolling in the Snow, then standing to shake it off.  He does this several times – This is Martin’s foreshadowing of how Snow will be Ghost then Ghost will “shake off” Snow, or his warg.  I am composing a better draft with evidences.

“Words are Wind Indeed”!

I also found where the words spoken in the great hall of WF by various northmen match up with the manner in which those dead meet their end.  Someone says Stannis will freeze his cock off, and Yellow Dick suffers such a fate, maybe not frozen off – not sure,  Stannis will be lost in the snow, and the squire gets lost – maybe – as well.  And there’s more – I just have to organize and compose with evidences.

I best read what others have posted before writing too much – but you have my head spinning.  Great Job, Wiz-Smith.

It is a pleasure collaborating with such a perceptive, ingenious mind such as yours and others here!

Very nice job! It's interesting that these screams are coming from the mouth of birds. There are a lot of references to Bran-As-A-Bird throughout ASOIAF, especially in AGOT Bran II. From the way Bran is said to perch on the walls of WF, to it just being Bran and the birds who knows the secrets of WF, to the Old Nan Icarus story that Bran then "reenacts" (with Jaime Lannister's help) to some other ones, Bran is likened to a bird quite a bit. And later the basket Hodor carries Bran is a like a bird's cage.

 

 

 

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Thank you Evita !  I look forward to some great chat.  I also muse far too long over my posts, and you've given me a lot to think about/research, so I will also mention the fact that my deliberations and posts can take some time, however, this subject fascinates me and I love what you've researched here, so I will re-read, take notes, and get back to you.  Thank you again for a great read !  :D   

I credit Wizz Smith for the following inspirations, and others to come:

Ghost Wears A Cloak of Snow [as in Jon Snow] from Jon X ADwD

At the base of the Wall he [Jon] found Ghost rolling in a snowbank. The big white direwolf seemed to love fresh snow. When he saw Jon he bounded back onto his feet and shook himself off”.

·       Ghost surely loves the fresh snow, as many dogs do, rolling in the white powder and shaking it off.  However, Ghost’s behavior has a symbolic significance that speaks to his relationship with Jon Snow and the potential of Jon Snow warging his direwolf in the novel TWoW.

·       Just as Jon Snow uses a piece of his own black cloak as a bandage to wrap Ghost’s wounds left from an eagle’s talons, so does Ghost coat himself with snow – the cloak of Jon Snow.

 “I have something they did not.” Jon turned his head and whistled. “Ghost. To me.” The direwolf shook the snow from his back and trotted to Jon’s side”.

·       Ghost shaking the snow from his back further insinuates that Jon Snow as the warg will be “shaken” from Ghost the host in a timely fashion.

“Ghost stalked beside Jon’s horse as the rangers and recruits formed up, then stopped and sniffed, his breath frosting in the air. “What is it?” Jon asked. “Is someone there?” The woods were empty as far as he could see, but that was not very far”.

·       Jon Snow admits that he cannot see as far as his direwolf, which is more evidence of Jon’s symbolic blindness – refusing to “see” the truth, or avoiding it.

“Ghost bounded toward the trees, slipped between two white-cloaked pines, and vanished in a cloud of snow. He wants to hunt, but what? Jon did not fear for the direwolf so much as for any wildlings he might encounter. A white wolf in a white wood, silent as a shadow. They will never know he’s coming. He knew better than to go chasing him. Ghost would return when he wanted to and not before”.

·       Martin consistently employs the word “vanish” when he describes the direwolves, singly or collectively, disappearing through the trees, the snow, or whatever the barrier may be.

·       “Vanish” suggests magic, a trick magicians often use to amaze their audiences.  Martin’s language patterns recurring in passages depicting the direwolves is a means of alerting readers to their “magical” origins.  The direwolves are powerful gifts to the Stark children from the forces of the godhood.

‘Jon pulled his scarf up over his mouth and nose and raised the hood on his cloak. “Not far now,” he told the men. No one replied. Jon smelled Tom Barleycorn before he saw him. Or was it Ghost who smelled him? Of late, Jon Snow sometimes felt as if he and the direwolf were one, even awake. The great white wolf appeared first, shaking off the snow. A few moments later Tom was there’.

·       Jon shares Ghost’s acute sense of smell, and Jon confesses his feeling that he and Ghost are “one”.

·       For the third time, Ghost is shaking off the snow that he has coated himself in.

Ghost nuzzled up against his shoulder, and Jon draped an arm around him. He could smell Horse’s unwashed breeches, the sweet scent Satin combed into his beard, the rank sharp smell of fear, the giant’s overpowering musk. He could hear the beating of his own heart. When he looked across the grove at the woman with her child, the two greybeards, the Hornfoot man with his maimed feet, all he saw was men.

·       Jon  further shares Ghost’s sensory details, evidence of their closeness and foreshadowing of a further unity yet to come.

·       Jon sees not wildlings and a giant, he sees “MEN” – which is exactly what Bran wants him to see in the vision of the wolf dream from ACoK.

 

 

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Thank you Evita !  I look forward to some great chat.  I also muse far too long over my posts, and you've given me a lot to think about/research, so I will also mention the fact that my deliberations and posts can take some time, however, this subject fascinates me and I love what you've researched here, so I will re-read, take notes, and get back to you.  Thank you again for a great read !  :D   

 

For WIZZ-SMITH:  More on Jon X ADwD.

You have parsed this POV and offered excellent evidences.  Isn’t it amazing how we can find SO much once we have learned Martin’s language patterns, many of which are motifs in themselves?

Here are a few other analytical tricks of the trade – Martin POV openings are homages to Homeric great epics, and other such epics, and these epics share commonalities that are called epic conventions.

Homer uses simple transitional devices, and beginning a new Book with “Dawn’s rosy fingers” bidding adieu to the night is a favorite of his.  Hence, this is an epic convention.

Some of Martin’s POVs open with an epic convention depicting sunrise and daybreak, but are they Martin’s way of composing the fresh new beginning, or simply a transitional device connecting the previous POV and the previous character POV, proper?

Now, let’s parse Martin’s opening of Jon X:

“The sun had broken through near midday, after seven days of dark skies and snow flurries. Some of the drifts were higher than a man, but the stewards had been shoveling all day and the paths were as clean as they were like to get. Reflections glimmered off the Wall, every crack and crevice glittering pale blue”.

The sun had broken through near midday, after seven days of dark skies and snow flurries.

·       Always remember that SUN is an author’s way of creating a PUN.  So, Martin’s SUN can also be SON.

The SON had broken through near midday, after seven days of dark skies and snow flurries.

·       Jon Snow is the “son” of some woman, perhaps a Stark woman, but Bran is a son as well.

·       Bran is the son of Lord Eddard and Catelyn Stark.  If Bran is shadowing the action and characters in this POV, then it is more than coincidence that he arrives at midday, the half-way point, and that he brings “sunlight’ after 7 days of darkness and snow. [In miniature, Bran is doing what we anticipate he will:  Return the Sun after the darkness and snow?  Bran is the power that will facilitate the return of Summer after a long, dark winter!]

·       The SON had BROKEN:  Bran calls himself Bran the Broken, the Broken Son!

·       It is a beginning of another week as well.

·       I am tracing the HALF, doubles, pairs, and punning such in this POV. 

“Seven hundred feet up, Jon Snow stood looking down upon the haunted forest”.

·       This bird’s-eye-view is another hint of Bran and his perspective, which he has used in Jon’s wolf-dream and with Sansa’s sculpting Winterfell [Bemused].

·       While in Ghost, Jon sees the massing wildlings on the Milkwater from a precipice far above the gathering. Maybe Martin wants us to recall that scene?

·       Your number 7 ideas are great.

“ A north wind swirled through the trees below, sending thin white plumes of snow crystals flying from the highest branches, like icy banners””

·       .You analyzed the wind here, but Martin speaks of “white plumes” of snow crystals “flying” – PLUMES are bird’s feathers, yes?

How’s this?  More later . . .

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 I'm lost in something entirely different right now, but I have a few thoughts on the screams.. I agree that they're a sign of warning, but they may have various sources, not just one (Bran) or even two (Bran and Bloodraven). The ravens' screams are probably  attributable to them (in the main) but I'm not entirely certain that a simple scream (as opposed to a word) would be impossible to achieve for any of the CoTF greenseers, or perhaps even the "ghosts" that reside in the ravens at the cave of the Children.
 
That so many ravens are in WF is suspicious on it's own. ..Theon assumes they're all Maester Luwin's ravens and tells us Roose has brought 3 maesters to take the birds in hand, but if they were just normal ravens, I think most of them would have simply flown off to their home destinations once the rookery was destroyed.They may be part of the same "unkindness of ravens" that we see with Coldhands and at the cave.
 
When it comes to screaming hinges, and considering the two locations mentioned - the Wall and the crypt doors at Winterfell - I have a feeling that they may be linked directly to the living magic of these places.. and at the same time, we need to take into account whose POv it's happening in.
 
I can see the scream of the rusted hinges of the door to the ice cell as a warning to Jon about Wick and perhaps Cregan (who may, for all we know, have been set free by the conspirators). But Jon's interpretation is rooted in his own thoughts and psychology.
 
Jon likens it to the cries of damned souls. In the conversation that follows, Cregan threatens that if Jon kills him, he will be damned as a kinslayer (he's stretching a point, IMO). Jon considers that Cregan has "damned" himself as a would be usurper by his actions regarding Alys, and has carefully avoided granting him guest right (just in case).. and at the same time, he's aware that there are people (such as Bowen) who will "damn" him for his current decisions about the wildlings. We can understand why that "damned souls" simile springs to mind, for him.
 
In another example, I sense that Jon unknowingly states a fact when he tells Val the wall killed Jarl. He expresses this in thought a little more fully during his appointment of Bedwyck.. Sometimes the Wall itself seemed to shake them off, as a dog might shake off fleas. Jon had seen that for himself, when a sheet of ice cracked beneath Val’s lover Jarl, sending him to his death. .. I definitely think the magic itself reacts spontaneously from time to time.
 
 
In Winterfell, when the doors to the crypt scream, we're in Theon's POV. He doesn't liken the scream to anything. He doesn't note that the hinges are rusted and I don't think that they've been buried in snow long enough to rust. There was no snow when Roose's company arrived. 
 
 
Many people take the position that the unnatural weather that seems to emanate from Winterfell does so because there is no Stark in Winterfell. I take the opposing position - that it's because there is a Stark in WF (Benjen as the HM) causing certain magical defenses to be activated. ...In the same vein, I can see the scream as an announcement or warning to those concealed in the crypts to stay hidden (but I believe Barbrey's action is welcome and expected). While in the crypts, Theon feels a "familiar sense of dread", implying it's the same as he (like other non-Starks) has felt before.
 
 
Like Mithras, I've long been convinced that Bran will be able to speak through Theon in TWoW.(Though I differ slightly on some of his other projections) ;)
 
 
Evita.. this is a great thread, and I applaud the work you've done.. I just have my own particular wrinkles on things. There are two words that I feel we too often use in regard to Bran "surpass" and "forgiveness" .. and I've used them myself, in a shorthand kind of way. But the more I think about them , the more I feel they're off, somewhat.
 
Is it right to say that Bran will surpass BR, when it's not a contest? They are a part of the same continuum. Bran will know whatever BR and others have discovered before him. How will we be able to judge whose accomplishments are greater , when his will "stand on the shoulders" of theirs?
 
As to forgiveness.. TWoIaF tells us the Starks of old were "hard men in hard times" and if the threat now is as great, that same hardness will be necessary. The red leaf (like a hand) that falls and touches Theon calls to my mind the "bloody hands" motif so ably developed by some posters in the Jon re-read threads..a call to take responsibility for one's actions (much needed in Theon's case) and I think "forgiveness" on Bran's part goes too far. To my mind, "understanding" would be a better word.
 
Theon remembers standing over the corpses of the miller's boys and thinking "How did I come to this?" .. Bran is now in a position to see how Theon came to that, but I don't think he can forgive Theon for all he's done and all the grief it brought to so many and the danger in which his actions have placed the efforts against the others. ...And I know there is an argument to be made that without Theon's actions Bran might not be where he now is. Still, forgiveness is a very big word, and perhaps entirely too Christian a concept to truly apply. I cannot see Bran as a "father confessor". The Northern religion has no such office,or concept that we know of. Theon is pleading for understanding from the old gods, and I think he's getting it.. but there will be no washing away of his sins.
 
I'll use Jon and the Weeper as an example.. Jon doesn't intend to forgive him, but he'll set his past crimes aside, if he can put him to good use .. but I certainly take it that the arrangement would be conditional. Just as with the NW, if such a contract was broken, justice would fall. I think it will be much the same with Theon.

BeMused:  Your ideas are great – but I differ on a few counts.  No offense or nastiness intended!

Bran is the Stark in Winterfell

I do not agree that Winterfell has ever been without a Stark.  Bran is the last appointed lord and prince of Winterfell, and Bran sits his father’s direwolf chair and performs the duties of Lord and Host, even feasting assorted visitors:  “There were guests in Winterfell, visitors for the harvest feast” [ACoK 243].

Moreover, Bran does not abandon his responsibilities as the Stark in WF.  His departure from WF is divinely sanctioned and driven by powerful magic.  Emissaries of the godhood guide and deliver Bran to the 3EC beyond the Wall.

Now Bran is the living magic in WF and the Wall; hence, Bran is literally and figuratively the grey stone of WF and the ice bricks of the Wall.

Bran as greenseer “absorbs” ALL MAGIC and knowledge through the trees; hence, Bran IS WF – and all that is Bloodraven as well.  Bran is the “Receiver of Memory” – and he must take it all in, good, bad, etc.

 

Bran’s Powers Exceeding BR’s

 

Bran “seems” more powerful because of his youth – young minds learn and retain much faster than older ones, so Bran’s quick acquisition of knowledge and mastery of greenmagic appears to move beyond BR’s – however, Leaf says all of HIM has gone into the tree, which means that greenseers pass on their magic and knowledge to the next – it all goes into the tree.  So, by default if nothing else, Bran absorbs all that IS BR.

 

Bran Speaking in Theon

 

I do not think Stannis will care what Theon has to say.  Now, if the weirwood talks, or if the ravens/crows speak in chorus or solo – or if the weirwood swallows Theon – that would get Stannis’ attention.

Forgiveness

I agree with you.  I confused new age ideas with Martin's characters. With great knowledge must come a higher understanding of man's essential dark nature.  

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Hi people, having posted quotes and a little analysis from Jon X & XI up thread, I realised that I should've posted them in order from the end of Bran's last chapter.  And not only that, but try and set up a precedent via repeated and distinguishable language choices in the text when describing something attributable to Bran/BR, as evita has shown for the screams in the OP.  So I will attempt to do that in my up coming posts.
 
My analysis on Jon's chapters will be focussing on the wind as a potential tool for Bran to use/watch/listen to events at the Wall. [ with an eye on Mormonts raven/BR and screams.] 
 
This post will cover Bran III and Jon VII, as I think there are some clues to be found in these chapters that are important with regards to linking the text moving forward.  Therefore this post is longer than the others will be.  This is not a chapter analysis, just some quotes from Bran III that I feel help set up the links I propose to try and show........
 
He chose one bird, and then another, without success.....................
The song of the river suddenly grew louder, the torches burned a little brighter than before, and the air was full of strange smells.  When he tried to speak it came out in a 'scream', and his first flight ended when he crashed into a wall and ended back inside his own broken body.  The raven was unhurt.  It flew to him and landed on his arm, and Bran stroked its feathers and slipped inside of it again.
 
After the small mishap of Bran not quite getting the hang of flying, he goes on to show impressive skills throughout the chapter.  Keep the failed flight in mind, and maybe the stroking of the feathers moving forward.  We also get another scream relating to speech.
 
Secondly, Brans powers.  We all know they're strong, so I won't go over all these passages, but needless to say what he experienced in the weirnet and his dreams in his alcove far surpassed expectations.  He has been tasting blood for a while, and Coldhands 'pork' etc...  And he has skinchanged a lot, into another wolf in this chapter in fact.
 
'' Bran ate with Summer and his pack, as a wolf.'' 
 
That's Hodor - Summer - Raven - Wolf and the trees so far.  Does this make him Bran 'five' skins ?       :P   Seriously though that wolf was Varamyr's, and no mention of him in the wolf's subconscious, this seems no problem at all to Bran.  Basically, I feel Bran's powers may be far further down the road of development than BR or Leaf think.  And maybe some readers ?  
 
Finally, the last time we see BR, he is talking to Bran, and he finishes with.......
 
'' Nor will your sight be limited to your godswood.  The singers carved eyes into their heart trees to awaken them, and those are the first eyes a new greenseer learns to use.... but in time you will see well beyond the trees themselves.''
'' When.''  Bran wanted to know.
'' In a year, or three, or ten.  That I have not glimpsed.  It will come in time I promise you.  But I am tired now, and the trees are calling me.  We will resume on the morrow.''
 
 Not limited to any godswood and see well beyond the trees themselves kind of sounds like BR's ability to manipulate the mist/fog.  Maybe one of the other elements to master is the wind ? 
Also Bran was quick to ask 'when' these other powers would develop, showing a keen willingness to learn.  Note also that BR was tired, maybe all this high octane greenseer action was all too much for one day !  And he says the trees were calling him, I wonder what they wanted, to tell BR that we have a serious prodigy on our hands ?
 
In conclusion :  After the early mishap of not getting the hang of the flying, Bran has shown considerable talent already and will probably master these greenseer skills quickly.  In particular the abilities away from the trees and godswood, the wind perhaps ?
 

 

Great Minds Think Alike!  Har Har!

 

I posted this in August, and you and I are picking up on the exact same things: 

 

 

“Once you have MASTERED your gifts . . .”

 

When Bran takes his first journey into the weirwood under the supervision of Bloodraven and Leaf, both of them eagerly await Bran's report.  They anticipate his response.

 

But neither of them expect Bran to skip the PRESENT and go right to the PAST.

 

Lord Brynden instructs Bran to slip his skin and travel through the tree roots to the hill’s surface to peer through the weirwood’s eyes and tell him what he sees.   however, when Bran “become the tree”, in an instant he is home, in the heart tree of Winterfell’s godswood.  Bran covers a substantial distance that far exceeds Bloodraven’s initial goal for his pupil.

 

When Bran reveals that he saw his father cleaning his greatsword  Ice beneath the heart tree in Winterfell’s godswood, Leaf is quick to offer an explanation:  “You saw what you wished to see.  Your heart yearns for your father and your home, so that is what you saw” (458).  [Leaf reacts to what Bran sees faster than Bloodraven does – she is ready with a “save” – those children, they are the wise ones!]

 

Leaf suggests that Bran’s visit to Winterfell is due to his emotional attachment to his home and his father.  Bran’s heart takes him there.  Bran is sure that his father is alive, but Bloodraven clarifies that Bran visits “shadows of days past”, where greenseers can call upon bygone days in rapid succession, a thousand human years in a moment. 

So

Even though Bran is far from Winterfell, even though he has traveled beyond the great ice barricade of the Wall,  and even though he is beneath a hill in a warded cave, the skinchanger in him travels far indeed for the FIRST time out as a GREENSEER.

Obviously, Bloodraven did not expect Bran to visit the PAST the FIRST time he weds the tree; as a matter of fact, the Last Greenseer probably anticipates another raven fiasco!  Bran had a wee bit of trouble with a raven the first time he learned to fly. And, the readers know more than Bloodraven, for all his ancient wisdom.  Readers know that Bran has been practicing in Hodor – Bran has tasted human blood and human flesh through Summer – and doesn’t Bran dine on Coldhand’s pork dinner?

Then, when Bran returns to his alcove, BAM!  He’s back in the tree again – the second time, the images race – hurtle – backward into time, as his teacher described in his lesson on the Sea of Shadows and Time is a River – and that Greenseers will be able to see through “gates” into the past.

Bloodraven answers Bran’s question “Will I see my father again?” WITH “Once you have MASTERED your gifts, you may look where you will and see what he trees have seen, be it yesterday or last year or A THOUSAND AGES PAST” (ADwD 458).

So, if Bran goes to his alcove and travels about 6000-7000 years into the past – he sees the ancient Kings of Winter march by, and a possible blood sacrifice – and then he tastes the blood IN THE PAST as though it is spilled PRESENTLY – does this mean that Bran has “mastered his gifts”?  That is, according to Bloodraven?

I think this little event is proof that Bran’s gifts are well on their way to surpassing their teacher’s.

Did anyone notice that Bloodraven cuts the lesson short with “I am tired”.  I bet he is tired – he has a greenseer prodigy on his hands, OH MY! 

 

Edited by evita mgfs
copy strike through

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