The Three Eyed Crow (3eC), contrary to popular opinion, is not Blood Raven (BR) at all. BR is not the altruistic “for the greater good”, just working from the shadows and willing to do whatever is necessary, character I thought he was on my first read.
I’m going to try and work my way through the quotes and thought process that led me to this conclusion. I apologize for the rambling length…
The obvious place to start, while perhaps not the beginning, is with Bran’s fall…
But it was no good. He had gone to the stable first, and seen his pony there in its stall, except it wasn't his pony anymore, he was getting a real horse and leaving the pony behind, and all of a sudden Bran just wanted to sit down and cry. He turned and ran off before Hodor and the other stableboys could see the tears in his eyes. That was the end of his farewells. Instead Bran spent the morning alone in the godswood, trying to teach his wolf to fetch a stick, and failing.
He raced across the godswood, taking the long way around to avoid the pool where the heart tree grew. The heart tree had always frightened him; trees ought not have eyes, Bran thought, or leaves that looked like hands. His wolf came sprinting at his heels. "You stay here," he told him at the base of the sentinel tree near the armory wall. "Lie down. That's right. Now stay—"
The wolf did as he was told. Bran scratched him behind the ears, then turned away, jumped, grabbed a low branch, and pulled himself up. He was halfway up the tree, moving easily from limb to limb, when the wolf got to his feet and began to howl.
Screaming, Bran went backward out the window into empty air. There was nothing to grab on to. The courtyard rushed up to meet him.
Somewhere off in the distance, a wolf was howling. Crows circled the broken tower, waiting for corn.
Ok, so above you have some selected quotes from the chapter leading up to Bran’s fall.
The first paragraph is mostly a reminder of something I had overlooked on my first read, Bran had every intention of saying goodbye to his friends in Winterfell since he was supposed to be going south the next day. It is perfectly reasonable that at this point he was feeling upset about leaving and so ran off to be by himself. But on a repeat read I have to wonder if there isn’t something slightly more sinister going on… the sudden change in mood along with the otherwise completely in context “wasn’t his pony anymore” are easy to write off as nothing, but looking back now that we know there is a grizzled old greenseer out there, who can see through the eyes of trees and animals it deserves note. These sorts of things make one do a double take even if it’s likely just a plot excuse to get Bran climbing right?
Anyway, the next point here is that Bran has always been frightened of the Weirwood. This is something that I certainly didn’t pick up on the first time around, “trees ought not have eyes”. Seems relevant.
Summer knows that something bad is going to happen and starts to howl… Almost like he’s trying to warn Bran… and Bran gets an odd chill...
This forces me to ask why BR, who was presumably aware of what was going on, didn’t try and warn Bran. Either he was unable, or he choose not to, for whatever reason, good or ill. All those crows right there in the last line of the chapter, circling… waiting for corn.
Fly, a voice whispered in the darkness, but Bran did not know how to fly, so all he could do was fall.
You always woke up in the instant before you hit the ground.
And if you don't? the voice asked.
The ground was closer now, still far far away, a thousand miles away, but closer than it had been. It was cold here in the darkness. There was no sun, no stars, only the ground below coming up to smash him, and the grey mists, and the whispering voice. He wanted to cry.
Ok so this whole chapter is basically an odd falling dream sequence, but maybe the strangest thing is that, unlike every other line of dialogue, there are no quotes around the 3eC’s words. Even Bran’s own words, and the remembered words of his father and Jaime get quotes.
Any time I see the sun and stars, or in this case darkness devoid of said celestial bodies, mentioned my ears perk up… Ned has a similar thought about the sun and moon while in the black cells, and of course there is BR’s hollow hill…
Not cry. Fly.
"I can't fly," Bran said. "I can't, I can't . . . "
How do you know? Have you ever tried?
The voice was high and thin. Bran looked around to see where it was coming from. A crow was spiraling down with him, just out of reach, following him as he fell. "Help me," he said.
I'm trying, the crow replied. Say, got any corn?
Bran reached into his pocket as the darkness spun dizzily around him. When he pulled his hand out, golden kernels slid from between his fingers into the air. They fell with him.
The crow landed on his hand and began to eat.
"Are you really a crow?" Bran asked.
Are you really falling? the crow asked back.
"It's just a dream," Bran said.
Is it? asked the crow.
"I'll wake up when I hit the ground," Bran told the bird.
You'll die when you hit the ground, the crow said. It went back to eating corn.
So the Crow is "just out of reach" asks for corn, and then eats it after perching on Bran's hand. So it is the corn that brings the bird within reach. You’ll notice there is no mention of a third eye at this point, and there is the odd exchange where Bran asks if it is really a crow. The crow responds with "are you falling", but without the quotes. That jumped out to me and begged the question, is the 3eC really speaking or is it just Bran's thoughts?
I told you, the answer is flying, not crying. How hard can it be? I'm doing it. The crow took to the air and flapped around Bran's hand.
"You have wings," Bran pointed out.
Maybe you do too.
Bran felt along his shoulders, groping for feathers.
There are different kinds of wings, the crow said.
Bran was staring at his arms, his legs. He was so skinny, just skin stretched taut over bones. Had he always been so thin? He tried to remember. A face swam up at him out of the grey mist, shining with light, golden. "The things I do for love," it said.
There are different kinds of wings? Wings not on one’s shoulders or wings not made out of feathers… ok so putting dragons aside for a minute… it could just be metaphorical wings, like shapeshifting or greensight...
Every flight begins as a fall, if flying is a metaphor for greensight (or leaving ones own body with green/shapeshifter magic) then the fall seems to be the crisis that forces one into action. For Bran, of course I mean the fall. He is falling, we know the crows are circling, what if Bran in his panic reached out to the birds above him...
Why is Bran so skinny? My first reaction is that he’s been wasting away in a bed unconscious, and this is all a dream. But, crows are awfully skinny... just saying. He didn't always look like this, so he tries to remember what happened before this... and there is Jaime giving him a push.
The crow took to the air, cawing. Not that, it shrieked at him. Forget that, you do not need it now, put it aside, put it away. It landed on Bran's shoulder, and pecked at him, and the shining golden face was gone.
So it seems that by pecking Bran the crow is able to take away his memory… this is very strange, and important, since it's not the last peck.
Bran was falling faster than ever. The grey mists howled around him as he plunged toward the earth below. "What are you doing to me?" he asked the crow, tearful.
Teaching you how to fly.
"I can't fly!"
You're flying right now.
Every flight begins with a fall, the crow said. Look down.
"I'm afraid . . . "
Bran looked down, and felt his insides turn to water. The ground was rushing up at him now. The whole world was spread out below him, a tapestry of white and brown and green. He could see everything so clearly that for a moment he forgot to be afraid. He could see the whole realm, and everyone in it.
So the crow says he is teaching Bran to fly, then in fact that he is already flying! So if we are sticking with flying being a metaphor for Greensight or shapeshifting, or some combination or other supernatural power then it looks like this is Brans awakening. It works doubly well if he is reaching out to a crow... since he is actually flying as well as falling.
Notice that up until this point only Bran and the crow have been in the scene, besides the memory of Lewin making the pottery Bran, and of Jaime saying “the things I do for love”, the latter of which the crow "takes away" by pecking Bran.
Then he LOOKS DOWN… Bran forgets to be afraid and sees everyone!
Remember he was pushed out the window backwards, so looking down is interesting...
I wont go through everything he sees but there may be some real prophesy in it, or at least foreshadowing… So it seems he has some ability to see the future here, or is he looking through the eyes of the crow, or maybe some greater Greenseer vision?
At the heart of the godswood, the great white weirwood brooded over its reflection in the black pool, its leaves rustling in a chill wind. When it felt Bran watching, it lifted its eyes from the still waters and stared back at him knowingly.
Besides the ominous chill wind and the fact that even with the wind the pool is still... Bran sees his family members and the people he knew in Winterfell, but the Heart Tree seems to see him. Which is odd, to say the least.
He looked deep into the heart of winter, and then he cried out, afraid, and the heat of his tears burned on his cheeks.
Now you know, the crow whispered as it sat on his shoulder. Now you know why you must live.
"Why?" Bran said, not understanding, falling, falling.
Because winter is coming.
In this trippy nightmare where Bran has been freaked out and crying, he finally forgets to be afraid and all of a sudden he can see everything, of course the heart tree can see him too. This seems to be the moment of Bran’s awakening to the Greensight, or at least a pivotal moment in his "fall". Of course it isn’t long before he is afraid and crying again.
This time it is caused by whatever he sees in the Heart of Winter, which he clearly doesn’t understand (and we the readers would all desperately like to see ourselves, or have we already?), but the Crow’s answer is to say now he knows why he must live, Brandon Stark's own house words “Winter Is Coming”.
Bran looked at the crow on his shoulder, and the crow looked back. It had three eyes, and the third eye was full of a terrible knowledge. Bran looked down. There was nothing below him now but snow and cold and death, a frozen wasteland where jagged blue-white spires of ice waited to embrace him. They flew up at him like spears. He saw the bones of a thousand other dreamers impaled upon their points. He was desperately afraid.
"Can a man still be brave if he's afraid?" he heard his own voice saying, small and far away.
And his father's voice replied to him. "That is the only time a man can be brave."
Wait the crow has three eyes? This is the first time Bran remarks that the crow has three eyes, almost at the end of the dream sequence… I would have thought that a third eye might have been something you would notice right off the bat!
Unless the crow didn’t have three eyes before this point… Bran himself just learned some terrible knowledge about why he must live when he looked into the Heart of Winter. Could this be the same terrible knowledge? He also seems to have just had his first true Greenseer vision, is this "seeing with a third eye"?
Also, note the way he looks at the crow and it looks back because it is remarkably similar to Bran's "first" time warging a crow in BR's Cave.
It seems to be implied that this is the point where other “dreamers” have failed, and died. Fly or die.
Or is he still looking at the Heart of Winter? Spires of ice and lots of bones…
Bran recalls Ned’s great line about fear and bravery, continuing the rollercoaster ride for fear in this chapter…
Now, Bran, the crow urged. Choose. Fly or die.
Death reached for him, screaming.
Bran spread his arms and flew.
Wings unseen drank the wind and filled and pulled him upward. The terrible needles of ice receded below him. The sky opened up above. Bran soared. It was better than climbing. It was better than anything. The world grew small beneath him.
"I'm flying!" he cried out in delight.
I've noticed, said the three-eyed crow. It took to the air, flapping its wings in his face, slowing him, blinding him. He faltered in the air as its pinions beat against his cheeks. Its beak stabbed at him fiercely, and Bran felt a sudden blinding pain in the middle of his forehead, between his eyes.
"What are you doing?" he shrieked.
The crow opened its beak and cawed at him, a shrill scream of fear, and the grey mists shuddered and swirled around him and ripped away like a veil, and he saw that the crow was really a woman…
Bran awakens to name his wolf Summer.
But first, right at the end Bran flew for a moment, I guess he finally found those wings. When he “cries out” there are quotes…
Then the crow slows him, blinds him, and pecks right where Bran’s own third eye would be… Bran shrieks, the crow gives a shrill scream of fear (awfully similar sounding) that on first read I just thought was the woman… But could it have been Bran himself?
The veil is ripped away after the scream and after the blinding... Earlier in the chapter the crows peck takes away a memory, one Bran still can't remember when he awakes. Did the crow pecking Bran where his third eye would be take something away too?
It seems Bran is very powerful, and his need was very great. But whatever the three eyed crow represents, remember it didn’t “say” anything, it takes this away from Bran, and that is when he wakes up.
Was his body just not ready for his return? As we see later Bran can spend too long shapeshifting and neglect himself was that the problem? Did he Jump once to a crow and then jump back? All possibilities I suppose…
Bran VII Game
Maester Luwin broke off, startled. When Shaggydog bounded to his feet and added his voice to his brother's, dread clutched at Bran's heart. "It's coming," he whispered, with the certainty of despair. He had known it since last night, he realized, since the crow had led him down into the crypts to say farewell. He had known it, but he had not believed. He had wanted Maester Luwin to be right. The crow, he thought, the three-eyed crow …
My understanding is that when Ned died, and again later with Robb, each of the Starks has a crypt dream where they learn of the death. However, I never noticed that it was the three-eyed crow that led Bran there. It doesn’t seem that this crow appeared to anyone else when they had their crypt dream. I would find it very odd if BR was coming into Bran’s Stark dream and leading the way into the crypts… He is no Stark. The other Stark children seem to have found their own way, but I guess we don’t know.
Summer lapped at the water and settled down at Bran's side. He rubbed the wolf under the jaw, and for a moment boy and beast both felt at peace. Bran had always liked the godswood, even before, but of late he found himself drawn to it more and more. Even the heart tree no longer scared him the way it used to. The deep red eyes carved into the pale trunk still watched him, yet somehow he took comfort from that now. The gods were looking over him, he told himself; the old gods, gods of the Starks and the First Men and the children of the forest, his father's gods. He felt safe in their sight, and the deep silence of the trees helped him think. Bran had been thinking a lot since his fall; thinking, and dreaming, and talking with the gods.
"Please make it so Robb won't go away," he prayed softly. He moved his hand through the cold water, sending ripples across the pool. "Please make him stay. Or if he has to go, bring him home safe, with Mother and Father and the girls. And make it … make it so Rickon understands."
Bran VI Game
It could be that his change in opinion of the tree is just part of growing up, and he now isn’t afraid of a scary face on a tree (thank you sweetsunray pointing me to this quote and the logical explanation), but I don’t buy it.
Bran is not a normal child, and I give credence to his gut instinct, even if he is supposed to be a kid. There are times when he is foolish and childish, but when speaking of fear in particular with his story arc I believe it could be more meaningful.
It seems to me that it was the fall and accompanying dream that changed his opinion. Now was that because of what he learned, maybe?
But he was afraid of the “gold man” (Jaime) who threw him out of the window and the 3eC told him to forget it, he “didn’t need that now”, pecked him, and he forgot it. Even when he woke he seemed to have no memory of it.
Could it be that the fear of the Weirwood is a similar phenomenon?
Bran II Clash
Hodor knew Bran's favorite place, so he took him to the edge of the pool beneath the great spread of the heart tree, where Lord Eddard used to kneel to pray. Ripples were running across the surface of the water when they arrived, making the reflection of the weirwood shimmer and dance. There was no wind, though. For an instant Bran was baffled.
And now it is his favorite place… The ripples are just to mess with people who don’t remember why the pool, that has no ripples in the wind, is rippling then and are like me and would have to look it up.
She should never have talked about the wolf dreams, Bran thought as Hodor carried him up the steps to his bedchamber. He fought against sleep as long as he could, but in the end it took him as it always did. On this night he dreamed of the weirwood. It was looking at him with its deep red eyes, calling to him with its twisted wooden mouth, and from its pale branches the three-eyed crow came flapping, pecking at his face and crying his name in a voice as sharp as swords.
The Weirwood, with its red eyes and twisted mouth, is calling to him.
Notice that it is distinctly separate from the crow. The 3eC is pecking at him and saying his name… almost as if to warn Bran or try and save him.
Or make him forget…
Also, it is worth noting that the 3eC’s voice is described as sharp, not to say Blood Raven would sound the same in a dream anyway.
Sam IV Storm
“I don’t even dream of Ghost anymore. All my dreams are of crypts, of the stone kings on their thrones. Sometimes I hear Robb’s voice, and my father’s, as if they were at a feast. But there’s a wall between us, and I know that no place has been set for me.”
The living have no place at the feasts of the dead. It tore the heart from Sam to hold his silence then. Bran's not dead, Jon, he wanted to stay. He's with friends, and they're going north on a giant elk to find a three-eyed crow in the depths of the haunted forest. It sounded so mad that there were times Sam Tarly thought he must have dreamt it all, conjured it whole from fever and fear and hunger . . . but he would have blurted it out anyway, if he had not given his word.
Three times he had sworn to keep the secret; once to Bran himself, once to that strange boy Jojen Reed, and last of all to Coldhands. "The world believes the boy is dead," his rescuer had said as they parted. "Let his bones lie undisturbed. We want no seekers coming after us. Swear it, Samwell of the Night's Watch. Swear it for the life you owe me."
Ghost is on the other side of the Wall at this point, but, like Bran and Rickon, Jon has crypt dreams that let him know who is dead. Notice no 3eC in Jon’s dream, and of course it accurately doesn’t have Bran at the feast of the dead with Ned and Rob.
Now the last bit from Coldhands is as ominous as imaginable. We don’t want anyone to come after us, or bother his bones! EXCUSE ME?
Swear by the life you owe me… I remember hearing somewhere that “only life can pay for death”, Sam owes Coldhands his life because Coldhands saves him and delivered him to the wall. But, Coldhands can’t pass the wall… he needed Sam to retrieve Bran. So, in essence, Sam trades Bran and an oath of secrecy for his life.
The very start of the chapter where they arrive at Blood Ravens Lair - Dance With Dragons - Bran II, Chapter 13:
Something about the way the raven screamed sent a shiver running up Bran's spine. I am almost a man grown, he had to remind himself. I have to be brave now.
But the air was sharp and cold and full of fear. Even Summer was afraid. The fur on his neck was bristling. Shadows stretched against the hillside, black and hungry. All the trees were bowed and twisted by the weight of ice they carried. Some hardly looked like trees at all. Buried from root to crown in frozen snow, they huddled on the hill like giants, monstrous and misshapen creatures hunched against the icy wind.
Well that first line brings me right back to the falling dream… Bran’s spine isn’t good for much, but those shivers are best heeded!
“Even Summer was afraid”… dare I suggest a double meaning?
Might you describe those trees covered in ice as “jagged blue-white spires of ice” if you happened to, say, see them from above as you were plummeting towards them? Well as long as there aren’t “the bones of a thousand other dreamers” I think everything should be fine…
Bran knew. "She's a child. A child of the forest." He shivered, as much from wonderment as cold. They had fallen into one of Old Nan's tales.
Ok, not an ideal choice of words… “Fallen”, into one of Nan’s stories, but which one?
There were more side passages after that, more chambers, and Bran heard dripping water somewhere to his right. When he looked off that way, he saw eyes looking back at them, slitted eyes that glowed bright, reflecting back the torchlight. More children, he told himself, the girl is not the only one, but Old Nan's tale of Gendel's children came back to him as well. The roots were everywhere, twisting through earth and stone, closing off some passages and holding up the roofs of others. All the color is gone, Bran realized suddenly. The world was black soil and white wood. The heart tree at Winterfell had roots as thick around as a giant's legs, but these were even thicker. And Bran had never seen so many of them. There must be a whole grove of weirwoods growing up above us.
Black and White… All the color gone… remember that heart tree in Winterfell… A whole grove of wierwoods up above covered in ice, Uh-oh that sounds a lot like Bran’s dream… but it’s ok… still no bones.
"Bones," said Bran. "It's bones." The floor of the passage was littered with the bones of birds and beasts. But there were other bones as well, big ones that must have come from giants and small ones that could have been from children. On either side of them, in niches carved from the stone, skulls looked down on them. Bran saw a bear skull and a wolf skull, half a dozen human skulls and near as many giants. All the rest were small, queerly formed. Children of the forest. The roots had grown in and around and through them, every one. A few had ravens perched atop them, watching them pass with bright black eyes.
Oh Gods Damn it!!! Lots of bones… animals, people, giants, and children… could these be the bones of a thousand other dreamers? Because this is looking more and more like the place from Bran’s dream.
And just pointing out that ravens have black eyes… except for BR of course who has a single red eye…
"Are you the three-eyed crow?" Bran heard himself say. A three-eyed crow should have three eyes. He has only one, and that one red. Bran could feel the eye staring at him, shining like a pool of blood in the torchlight. Where his other eye should have been, a thin white root grew from an empty socket, down his cheek, and into his neck.
"A … crow?" The pale lord's voice was dry. His lips moved slowly, as if they had forgotten how to form words. "Once, aye. Black of garb and black of blood." The clothes he wore were rotten and faded, spotted with moss and eaten through with worms, but once they had been black. "I have been many things, Bran. Now I am as you see me, and now you will understand why I could not come to you … except in dreams. I have watched you for a long time, watched you with a thousand eyes and one. I saw your birth, and that of your lord father before you. I saw your first step, heard your first word, was part of your first dream. I was watching when you fell. And now you are come to me at last, Brandon Stark, though the hour is late."
This is the quote that first made me doubt… Bran also notices that BR has the wrong number of eyes, one, (and it’s red), and asks BR, straight up, if he is the 3eC…
But, BR thinks he means a man of the Night’s Watch (I can only speculate as to why BR would use “black of blood”, which in my mind at least, has a very negative connotation). If BR really has been appearing as the 3eC all this time it doesn’t make sense that he wouldn’t know what Bran is talking about. Also, while he says he has been many things, and blah blah blah, they are all passive verbs: BR saw, BR watched, BR was part of… never says he spoke, or pecked! “I was watching when you fell” doesn’t sound like the 3eC at all, it sounds like the heart tree in Winterfell that was watching Bran “knowingly” in his falling dream, and at times seems to try to speak in Bran’s dreams
And they did sing. They sang in True Tongue, so Bran could not understand the words, but their voices were as pure as winter air. "Where are the rest of you?" Bran asked Leaf, once.
"Gone down into the earth," she answered. "Into the stones, into the trees. Before the First Men came all this land that you call Westeros was home to us, yet even in those days we were few. The gods gave us long lives but not great numbers, lest we overrun the world as deer will overrun a wood where there are no wolves to hunt them. That was in the dawn of days, when our sun was rising. Now it sinks, and this is our long dwindling. The giants are almost gone as well, they who were our bane and our brothers. The great lions of the western hills have been slain, the unicorns are all but gone, the mammoths down to a few hundred. The direwolves will outlast us all, but their time will come as well. In the world that men have made, there is no room for them, or us."
She seemed sad when she said it, and that made Bran sad as well. It was only later that he thought, Men would not be sad. Men would be wroth. Men would hate and swear a bloody vengeance. The singers sing sad songs, where men would fight and kill.
First, the deer analogy sounds like a really nice way to say eat everything. But she is saying that they don’t have great numbers like the deer, you know who does, men. The wolves to hunt them could be the few, and the children in this analogy. The elder races’ time is ending, and the direwolves will outlast them all, in the world men have made… the deer have taken over! Soon there will be no wolves left to cull the herd… If you take my interpretation to its end, it would seem like the Children might feel a duty to slaughter some deer… I mean men
And Bran adds, that Men would fight… well maybe he’s not wrong and maybe the children are fighting… or at least some of them…
The moon was a crescent, thin and sharp as the blade of a knife. Summer dug up a severed arm, black and covered with hoarfrost, its fingers opening and closing as it pulled itself across the frozen snow. There was still enough meat on it to fill his empty belly, and after that was done he cracked the arm bones for the marrow. Only then did the arm remember it was dead. Bran ate with Summer and his pack, as a wolf. As a raven he flew with the murder, circling the hill at sunset, watching for foes, feeling the icy touch of the air. As Hodor he explored the caves. He found chambers full of bones, shafts that plunged deep into the earth, a place where the skeletons of gigantic bats hung upside down from the ceiling. He even crossed the slender stone bridge that arched over the abyss and discovered more passages and chambers on the far side. One was full of singers, enthroned like Brynden in nests of weirwood roots that wove under and through and around their bodies. Most of them looked dead to him, but as he crossed in front of them their eyes would open and follow the light of his torch, and one of them opened and closed a wrinkled mouth as if he were trying to speak. "Hodor," Bran said to him, and he felt the real Hodor stir down in his pit.
The moon, more bones (side note the wights seem to be controlled through the bones, or at least they “die” when the bone is cracked), and watching for some vague ‘foes’… could be wights, could be walkers, could be the people following (seekers) that Coldhands was so worried about finding Bran’s bones. The fact alone that in the same paragraph we evidence of the wights being controlled through bones and a repeat enumeration of how the caves are full of bones is troubling to say the least.
The sight of him still frightened Bran—the weirwood roots snaking in and out of his withered flesh, the mushrooms sprouting from his cheeks, the white wooden worm that grew from the socket where one eye had been. He liked it better when the torches were put out. In the dark he could pretend that it was the three-eyed crow who whispered to him and not some grisly talking corpse.
Here Bran is still frightened by BR, as he was once frightened by the weirwood tree in Winterfell, and “pretends” it is the 3eC talking to him… But its not, it’s BR, a grisly talking corpse… Now this could be easily taken as Bran just having trouble reconciling the two, but given the rest of the text I think it is another clear indication that Blood Raven is/was/won’t be the three eyed crow.
The moon was a crescent, thin and sharp as the blade of a knife. The days marched past, one after the other, each shorter than the one before. The nights grew longer. No sunlight ever reached the caves beneath the hill. No moonlight ever touched those stony halls. Even the stars were strangers there. Those things belonged to the world above, where time ran in its iron circles, day to night to day to night to day.
They are in the darkness under the grove. No sun, no stars, and that moon we keep hearing about can only be seen outside. They are safe from the world above, both in winter, and presumably in summer. We know the dead cannot enter, but nothing says they can’t be controlled from within.
“Iron circles” I just thought was interesting; I remember Old Nan saying others hated iron.
Leaf touched his hand. "The trees will teach you. The trees remember." He raised a hand, and the other singers began to move about the cavern, extinguishing the torches one by one. The darkness thickened and crept toward them.
"Close your eyes," said the three-eyed crow. "Slip your skin, as you do when you join with Summer. But this time, go into the roots instead. Follow them up through the earth, to the trees upon the hill, and tell me what you see.
Notice that the darkness closes in before the 3eC speaks… and notice that this time it get quotations…
More importantly, it tells Bran to look out of the trees on the hill, the ones frozen in ice…
"A man must know how to look before he can hope to see," said Lord Brynden. "Those were shadows of days past that you saw, Bran. You were looking through the eyes of the heart tree in your godswood. Time is different for a tree than for a man. Sun and soil and water, these are the things a weirwood understands, not days and years and centuries. For men, time is a river. We are trapped in its flow, hurtling from past to present, always in the same direction. The lives of trees are different. They root and grow and die in one place, and that river does not move them. The oak is the acorn, the acorn is the oak. And the weirwood … a thousand human years are a moment to a weirwood, and through such gates you and I may gaze into the past."
"But," said Bran, "he heard me."
"He heard a whisper on the wind, a rustling amongst the leaves. You cannot speak to him, try as you might. I know. I have my own ghosts, Bran. A brother that I loved, a brother that I hated, a woman I desired. Through the trees, I see them still, but no word of mine has ever reached them. The past remains the past. We can learn from it, but we cannot change it.
Ok, a lot here.
Bran doesn’t know how to look, so he cannot see, or tell the 3eC what he saw from the frozen trees on the hill. It doesn’t help that he ended up looking out from the eyes of the Weirwood in Winterfell.
Blood Raven seem unable to speak to people through the trees, or maybe through dreams at all… He certainly can’t talk to people in the past. It is unclear to me if these same rules apply to Bran, potentially about speaking through dreams and into the past.
I’ve tried to make somewhat less vague my reasoning for not believing that Blood Raven is the Three Eyed Crow… But what if it is Bran himself, if a tree doesn’t know time, and Bran goes into the tree, why wouldn’t the tree be able to bridge the gap between current and future Bran if he were truly some super Greenseer? Maybe he need to make the trip north, and just needs to rmember that he already knows why he needs to live… Winter is coming
Crackpot, maybe, but I truly have difficulty believing that Blood Raven is the Three Eyed Crow.