Jump to content

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

Wizz-The-Smith

The caves are timeless: Hollow hills. Magic castles and Greenseers.

Recommended Posts

HOLLOW HILLS. MAGIC CASTLES. AND GREENSEERS

INTRODUCTION

Hi everyone.  The premise of this essay will be to show that many of the ancient castles of Westeros were strategically built atop hollow hills to harness the magic of the caverns below.  Just as the two greenseers, Bloodraven and Bran do. 

There are only two hollow hills named as such in Westeros, and both are openly associated with magic and greenseers, High Heart and Bloodraven’s cave. 

HIGH HEART

High Heart had been sacred to the children of the forest, Tom Sevenstrings told her, and some of their magic lingered here still. ‘’No harm can ever come to those who sleep here,’’ the singer said……

In one place on the far side of the fire, the roots formed a kind of stairway up to a hollow in the earth where a man sat almost lost in the tangle of weirwood.

I won’t linger too long at High Heart as the old gods do.  The main point here is that the hollow hill is magic, and there is a [paralleled] greenseer in Beric sitting a weirwood throne in the dark cavern. 

BLOODRAVEN’S CAVE

The caves were timeless, vast, silent.  They were home to more than three score living singers and the bones of thousands dead, and extended far below the hollow hill.

Seated on his throne of roots in the great cavern, half-corpse and half-tree, Lord Brynden seemed less a man than some ghastly statue made of twisted wood, old bone, and rotted wool.

This is consistent, the caves/caverns, a hollow hill, a greenseer sitting a weirwood throne.  With this evidence at hand, it seems possible that all greenseers would base themselves in these dark caverns to best harness the magic and the weirnet.         

Therefore, if some of the First Men legends were greenseers, it would make sense that they would build their castles atop these magic hills, and with access to the caverns below.  A fully fortified magic base from which to rule your kingdom.  Pretty awesome! 

The World book talks of such legends and mentions their extended life span, ala Bloodraven….   

The names of the kings of these earliest realms are caught up in legend, and the tales that claim their individual rules lasted hundreds of years are to be understood as errors and fantasies introduced by others in later days……..  Names such as Brandon the Builder, Garth the Greenhand, Lann the Clever, and Durran Godsgrief are names to conjure with, but it is likely that their legends hold less truth than fancy.

If this line of thinking is correct and the legends mentioned [and some of their descendants] were greenseers, then their castles should be built above the hollow hills and caverns.  So without further ado, let‘s check that out…..  

 

-------------------------PART I:  FIRST MEN LEGENDS AND THEIR MAGIC CASTLES------------------------

 

WINTERFELL:  AND BRANDON THE BUILDER

Where better to start than Winterfell [Fell is another meaning for hill after all].  Plus this is one of the castles with known access to underground levels.    

It taught him Winterfell’s secrets too.  The builders had not even leveled the earth; there were hills and valleys behind the walls of Winterfell.  There was a covered bridge that went from the fourth floor of the bell tower across to the second floor of the rookery.

Below Winterfell, the crypts…

‘’My lady,’’ Theon broke in. ‘’Here we are.’’

‘’The steps go farther down,’’ observed Lady Dustin.

‘’There are lower levels.  Older.  The lowest level is partly collapsed, I hear.  I have never been down there.’’  He pushed the door open and led them out into a long vaulted tunnel, where mighty granite pillars marched two by two into blackness.

Built on a hill with access beneath the castle, insinuates that Winterfell is built on a hollow hill.  Below Winterfell, the crypts are huge and cloaked in darkness, just like the caverns.  And of course there is the access to the not yet seen lower levels.  Surely there are more caverns and tunnels further beneath this ancient stronghold.    

There is also the weirwood tree in the godswood, the roots of which could form another weirwood throne/tangle of roots in one of the caverns deep below Winterfell.  If Brandon the Builder and some of his descendants were greenseers, perhaps they used the magic of the caverns to gain access to the weirnet like Bran and Bloodraven.  Plus, as RR has noticed, the World book hints that Brandon the Builder may well be a good candidate as a greenseer….

BRANDON THE BUILDER

Childer’s Winter Kings, or the legends and lineages of the Starks of Winterfell contains part of a ballad alleged to tell of the time Brandon the Builder sought the aid of the children while raising the Wall.  He was taken to a secret place to meet with them, but could not at first understand their speech, which was described as sounding like the song of stones in a brook, or the wind through the leaves, or the rain upon the water.  The manner in which Brandon learned to comprehend the speech of the children is a tale in itself, and not worth repeating here.

The tale is not worth repeating because we’re already reading it, learning to comprehend the children’s speech is exactly what our greenseer, Bran is doing [the wind and leaves in particular]  It seems his Age of Heroes namesake went through the same process, evidence that he was perhaps learning to be a greenseer. 

  

STORM’S END AND DURRAN GODSGRIEF

The seaward side of Storm’s End perched upon a pale white cliff, the chalky stone sloping up steeply to half again the height of the massive curtain wall.  A mouth yawned in the cliff, and it was that Davos steered for, as he had sixteen years before.  The tunnel opened on a cavern under the castle, where the storm lords of old had built their landing…………….

Then they were past, engulfed in darkness, and the waters smoothed.  The little boat slowed and swirled.  The sound of their breathing echoed until it seemed to surround them.  Davos had not expected the blackness. 

The cliff below Storm’s End is huge, half again the size of the massive curtain wall.  And the cavern at the bottom links to the castle at the top, giving us access underground directly from the castle.   This is another strategically placed castle, but built atop a cliff this time.  The one constant is the cave system and caverns we are finding below these ancient strongholds.   

The storm lords have fashioned one of these caves to build their landing, and with such an incline to the castle, there must be many a tunnel, and there may be more caverns.  The weirwood tree in the godswood could hint towards another root system to be found in one of the other caverns deep below Storm’s End. 

DURRAN GODSGRIEF

Durran became the first Storm King.  With Elenei at his side, he lived and reigned at Storm’s End for a thousand years, or so the stories claim. 

Having won the love of the wind goddess Elenei, Durran had to face massive storms sent by her parent gods in rage at their relationship.  Every castle Durran built, the storms destroyed.  He persisted in building larger and more powerful castles, until the seventh one stayed in place.  

One might question why Durran continued to build his castle in such a vulnerable location.  I think the obvious answer is that he wanted to harness the magic of the caverns below.  And the stories claim that Durran lived for a thousand years, again much like the extended life we know the greenseers have.    

 

CASTERLY ROCK AND LANN THE CLEVER

The steps ended abruptly on echoing darkness.  Jaime had the sense of a vast space before him……  There were watery caverns deep below Casterly Rock, but this one was strange to him. ‘’What place is this?’’

‘’Your place.’’ The voice echoed

It’s not clear exactly where Jaime’s dream is taking place, but the text confirms there are caverns below Casterly Rock.  In fact the World book informs us that their godswood is actually situated in one of these caves. 

There is even a godswood of sorts, though the weirwood that grows there is a queer, twisted thing whose tangled roots have all but filled the cave where it stands, choking out all other growth.

Casterly Rock is well known as a hollow hill, with hundreds of tunnels and mine shafts, and loads of access underground, caverns included.  The Rock is huge, so perhaps there are caverns deep below that have been undisturbed for many years, and maybe another weirwood throne/tangle of roots? 

LANN THE CLEVER

Lann the Clever supposedly lived to the age of 312, and sired a hundred bold sons, and a hundred lissome daughters, all fair of face, clean of limb, and blessed with hair ‘as golden as the sun’.  

There are many different interpretations of how Lann stole Casterly Rock.  One tale tells of how when hiding within the passages he would whisper threats in the ears of the sleeping Casterlys.  He would also howl from the darkness like a demon.  As a result the Casterlys became convinced their seat was haunted.  

The whispering and howling can also be associated with an old gods presence [Bloodraven and Bran] This coupled with the magic of the hollow hills, and suddenly Lann sounds very much like another potential greenseer.  The fact Lann supposedly lived for three hundred and twelve years supports this idea.  Perhaps this was the reason Lann stole Casterly Rock, to harness the power of the caverns.  I’m sure the gold was probably of interest as well.     

 

HIGHGARDEN AND GARTH THE GARDENER

The Reach is many things to its inhabitants: the most populous, fertile, and powerful domain in the Seven Kingdoms, its wealth second only to the gold-rich west; a seat of learning; a center of music, culture, and all the arts, bright and dark; the breadbasket of Westeros; a nexus of trade; a home to great seafarers, wise and noble kings, dread sorcerers, and the most beautiful women in all Westeros.  On a hill overlooking the Mander rises Highgarden, rightly hailed as the most beautiful castle in the realm.

We have yet to see Highgarden in the series, or indeed hear of any caverns or tunnels below the castle.  But Garth the Gardener did do us the honour of building Highgarden on a hill.  The three weirwoods in the godswood are aptly named the ‘Three Singers’ which inspires images of the singers currently occupying the caverns of Bloodraven’s hollow hill. 

GARTH THE GARDENER [FIRST SON OF GARTH THE GREEN]

Of all these, the greatest was his firstborn, Garth the Gardener, who made his home on the hill atop the Mander that in time became known as Highgarden, and wore a crown of flowers and vines.  All of Garth Greenhand’s other children did the Gardener homage as the rightful king of all men, everywhere.  From his loins sprang House Gardener.

We don’t get much information about Garth the Gardener, but him being hailed as the great firstborn of The Greenhand, and then building his castle atop a hill are I think indications that he too was a greenseer.  Could there be more weirwood roots entangled into some form of throne within a cavern deep below Highgarden?

                                                        

IN CONCLUSION

All four of these legends from the Age of Heroes have built their castles above the caverns of the hills/hollow hills/cliffs.  And they are all rumoured to have lived the same fantastical and extended lives as the greenseers do.         

So were there any more legends or kings from history that built their castles in such places, possibly in an attempt to harness this power?  And who were these early inhabitants or legends.  Well, let’s take a look....

 

PART II

Following this pattern, we may be able to identify more potential greenseers/magical Houses, by studying the castles of Westeros and their early history.  Find the castles built above the hollow hills/cliffs/caverns, and look at the Houses and legends that made these magic strongholds their seat in the early days.  This will be the focus of part two.

There is an obvious place to start in light of LML’s essay ‘The Weirwood Compendium’ in which he lays out evidence for the Grey King to be a greenseer.  So we’ll start with the Grey King’s Hall……          

THE GREY KINGS HALL ON NAGGA’S HILL

Ahead loomed the sacred shore of Old Wyk and the grassy hill above it, where the ribs of Nagga rose from the earth like the trunks of great white trees, as wide around as a dromond’s mast and twice as tall.  The bones of the Grey King’s Hall.  Victarion could feel the magic of this place.

We’re yet to see what lies below the Grey Kings Hall, but as Victarion mentions, it is built on another hill linked to magic.  It’s notable that Old Wyk and Nagga’s Hill are considered sacred, just as High Heart was to the children of the forest.  This is the third hill openly associated with magic in the series.  The hills are alive with sound of…greenseeing.

THE GREY KING

The Grey King built a mighty longhall about her bones, using her ribs as beams and rafters.  From there he ruled the Iron Islands for a thousand years, until his very skin had turned grey as his hair and beard.  Only then did he cast aside his driftwood crown and walk into the sea, descending to the Drowned God’s watery halls to take his rightful place at his right hand.

I recommend reading LML’s essay, it takes a deeper look at the evidence for the Grey King being a greenseer, needless to say that I agree with him.  The Grey King not only built his Hall on this magic and sacred hill, but is rumored to have lived an extended life ala the greenseers.  Furthermore, he sat a weirwood throne and is another, much like Durran, who dared challenge the gods.  I think it is likely that there are caverns beneath the Grey King’s Hall which could be accessed from the castle.    

 

THE HIGHTOWER

Within, the narrow, twisting, windowless passages strike many as being tunnels rather than halls; it is very easy to get lost amongst their turnings.  Mayhaps this is no more than a defensive measure designed to confound attackers, but it too singularly un-Valyrian.  The labyrinthine nature of its interior architecture has led Archmaester Quillion to suggest that the fortress might have been the work of the mazemakers……..

The Hightower is another seat supposedly built by Brandon the Builder [Or son of] and it has loads of tunnels, and that labyrinth like architecture beneath the Tower.  Once the final tower was built above these vaults and chambers it would make sense that there would be access to these lower levels direct from the castle.

Looking for any link to magic in the current narrative, we know that Leyton Hightower and his daughter, Mad Maid Malora have locked themselves in the Hightower, researching books of spells. 

THE EARLY HIGHTOWERS AND UTHOR HIGHTOWER 

The early Hightowers lived amidst the gloomy halls, vaults, and chambers of the strange stone below.  It was only with the building of the fifth tower, the first to be made entirely of stone, that the Hightower became a seat worthy of a great house………  Some say it was designed by Brandon the Builder, whilst others name his son, another Brandon……

If some of the early Hightowers were also greenseers then it’s interesting that they lived in the dark, cavern like halls and chambers below their seat before the final tower was built.  Uthor Hightower ordered the fifth tower be constructed, and with all these castles being built above the possible magic of the caverns, perhaps the Hightowers wanted to follow suit and fortify their magic halls, vaults and chambers?  These lower levels are ancient and made from fused black stone, most likely a product of dragon lords from the Empire of the Dawn, pre Valyria.  These structures required sorcery to raise, so we can link the lower levels of the Hightower to this ancient magic.     

 

HORN HILL:  HARLON THE HUNTER AND HERNDON OF THE HORN

When he was small his lord father had tried to teach him how to swim by throwing him into the pond beneath Horn Hill.  The water had gotten in his nose and in his mouth and in his lungs, and he coughed and wheezed for hours after Ser Hyle pulled him out. 

As the name would suggest, this ancient castle was built on top of another hill.  Sam tells us the disturbing story of his father’s attempt at teaching him to swim, but this does confirm that there is a pond beneath the Tarly stronghold.  This suggests that they are in a cavern of some sort.  Therefore, it seems likely they gained access to this underground cavern/pond directly from the castle.  Horn Hill it seems, is another castle built atop a hollow hill. 

HARLON THE HUNTER AND HERNDON OF THE HORN

Harlon the Hunter and Herndon of the Horn, twin brothers who built their castle atop Horn Hill and took to wife a beautiful woods witch who dwelled there, sharing her favors for a hundred years (For the brothers did not age so long as they embraced her whenever the moon was full)

The twin brothers are sons of Garth the Green, which in itself may be a clue.  And the woods witch that dwelled there sounds very much like the Ghost of High Heart, who also dwells at her hollow hill in the Riverlands.  Again, these two have the greenseer like extended life, and this time openly associated with the magic of the woods witch. [And probably the hill] 

 

THE NEW CASTLE AND THE WOLF’S DEN

Behind the city’s thick white walls, the New Castle rose proud and pale upon its hill.  Davos could see the domed roof of the Sept of Snows as well, surmounted by tall statues of the Seven…

He knew there were true dungeons down in the castle cellars-oubliettes and torture chambers and dank pits where huge black rats scrabbled in the darkness.

They crossed the castle’s godswood…Beyond the weirwood, Glover opened a rusted iron gate and paused to light a torch.  When it was blazing red and hot, he took Davos down more steps into a barrel-vaulted cellar where the weeping walls were crusted white with salt, and seawater sloshed beneath their feet with every step.  They passed through several cellars, and rows of small, damp, foul smelling cells very different from the room where Davos had been confined.  Then there was a blank stone wall that turned when Glover pushed on it.  Beyond was a long narrow tunnel and still more steps.  These led up. 

‘’Where are we?’’ asked Davos as they climbed.  His words echoed faintly through the darkness.

‘’The steps beneath the steps.  The passage runs beneath the Castle Stair up to the New Castle. 

The New Castle, the seat of House Manderly, is another keep built on a hill, but notably, also above the ancient Wolf’s Den.  It’s actually the Wolf’s Den that I think is our likely avenue for more tunnels and caverns deeper within the hill.  We also have the weirwood tree providing the possibility of a root system, and a secret passage that runs beneath the castle.  There’s an interesting story surrounding the Manderly’s history and subsequent exile to the north.    

THE EARLY MANDERLY’S

Until King’s Landing rose beside the Blackwater, White Harbor was the newest city in the Seven Kingdoms.  Built with the wealth that the Manderlys had brought with them from the Reach after having been driven into exile by Lord Lorimar Peake at the behest of King Perceon III Gardener, who feared their swelling power in the Reach, White Harbor has more in common with the fine castles and towers of the Reach than with the castles of the North; it is said that the New Keep was built to reflect the castle of Dunstonbury, which the Manderlys had lost in their exile.

The New Castle was built to replace the aging Wolf's Den, but also to resemble their previous castle, Dunstonbury.  This means that Dunstonbury is yet another keep in the Reach built on top of a hollow hill, suggesting that some of the early Manderlys could well have been greenseers.  If this is the case then it makes sense that in an attempt to replicate Dunstonbury, their new seat in the north would still have access to the caverns underground.         

It’s interesting that they were driven north due to fears of their growing power in the Reach.  If some of the early Manderlys were greenseers, could their exile be a result of greenseer wars in the Reach? 

KING JON STARK

The Wolf’s Den was much older than White Harbor, the knight told Davos.  It had been raised by King Jon Stark to defend the mouth of White Knife against raiders from the sea.  Many a younger son of the King in the North had made his seat there, many a brother, many an uncle, many a cousin.  Some passed the castle to their own sons and grandsons, and offshoot branches of House Stark had arisen; the Greystarks had lasted the longest, holding the Wolf’s Den for five centuries….

Being descendants of Brandon the Builder, many of the Kings of Winter throughout history are candidates as greenseers.  This particular King of the North, Jon Stark, built this keep within the hill the New Castle sits on.  There are confirmed caverns and a weirwood tree within the godswood, all the ingredients for another tangle of roots a greenseer may sit as their throne in one of the caverns deep in the hill.  

The Wolf’s Den was inhabited by loads of northern houses before the Manderlys added the strength of White Harbor.  Those include the Greystarks, Flints, Slates, Longs, Holts, Lockes, and Ashwoods.  All of which had access to this potential magic if they knew how, or were able to use and harness it.

 

STANDFAST

Standfast was bigger than it appeared.  Its deep vaults and cellars occupied a good part of the hill on which it perched.  Aboveground, the tower boasted four stories.  The upper two had windows and balconies, the lower two only arrow slits.  It was cooler inside, but so dim that Dunk had to let his eyes adjust.  Sam Stoop’s wife was on her knees by the hearth, sweeping out the ashes. ‘’Is Ser Eustace above or below?’’ Dunk asked her. 

George hid this one in the Dunk and egg novella ‘The Sworn Sword’.  Built on a hill, Standfast has vaults and cellars below the tower which make up the bulk of the castle, this keep is one of the easier examples to link as being built on a hollow hill. 

There is also potential for further access below the castle via the well we find at Standfast, and it is an old castle, there are two ancient gargoyles whose shape had been lost long ago that stand on the southern and eastern corners of the tower.

THE EARLY OSGREY’S

‘’For a thousand years before the conquest, we were the Marshals of the Northmarch.  A score of lesser lordlings did us fealty, and a hundred landed knights.  We had four castles then, and watchtowers on the hills to warn of the coming of our enemies.  Coldmoat was the greatest of our seats.  Lord Perwyn Osgrey raised it.  Perwyn the Proud, they called him.  After the Field of Fire, Highgarden passed from kings to stewards and the Osgreys dwindled and diminished.

Standfast is one of these Osgrey watchtowers, and the layout we see at Standfast would suggest that the others may have been constructed in similar fashion.  Being Marshals of the Northmarch for a thousand years places them as one of the stronger Houses in the Reach, and it seems they had multiple hollow hills to draw magic from.  The early Osgrey’s seem very good candidates as First Men greenseers.            

 

DEEPWOOD MOTTE

Deepwood’s mossy walls enclosed a wide, rounded hill with a flattened top, crowned by a cavernous longhall with a watchtower at one end, rising fifty feet above the hill.  Beneath the hill was the bailey, with its stables, paddock, smithy, well, and sheepfold, defended by a deep ditch, a sloping earthen dike, and a palisade of logs….. It was an old castle, but not a strong one.

Conveniently, the word motte is another meaning for ‘mound’, and Deepwood is another ancient castle built on a hill.  Looking for access underground, we only get a small clue in the form of the well situated within the bailey.  We have seen a well give Bran and co access to the lower levels of a castle before, in the form of the well at the Nightfort.   

THE EARLY GLOVERS

Many other petty kings remained, ruling over realms great and small, and it would require thousands of years and many more wars before the last of them was conquered….

Amongst the houses reduced from royals to vassals we can count the Flints of Breakstone Hill, the Slates of Blackpool, the Umbers of Last Hearth, the Lockes of Oldcastle, the Glovers of Deepwood Motte, the Fishers of the Stony Shore, the Ryders of the Rills…….

The Glovers were petty kings in the time of the First Men, until the Starks beat them down.  But of all the castles mentioned, theirs is the only one that show any hints of access underground and possible caverns. [Although Breakstone Hill sounds interesting]  Therefore, it’s possible that some of the early Glover kings may have been greenseers too, petty king greenseers. 

 

THE NIGHTFORT

There were a lot of dark doors in the Nightfort, and a lot of rats. Bran could hear them scurrying through the vaults and cellars, and the maze of pitch-black tunnels that connected them. Jojen wanted to go poking around down there, but Hodor said “Hodor” to that, and Bran said “No.” There were worse things than rats down in the dark beneath the Nightfort.

The well grew darker and colder with every turn.  When Bran finally lifted his head around to look back up the shaft, the top of the well was no bigger than a half-moon. ‘’Hodor,’’ Hodor whispered. ‘’Hodorhodorhodorhodorhodorhodor,’’ the well whispered back.  The water sounds were close, but when Bran peered down he saw only blackness.

There are vaults and cellars in the pitch-black maze of the tunnels underground.  Plus the well at the Nightfort gives us direct access beneath the castle, and there is a subterranean river flowing in the darkness beneath. 

Furthermore, there is a weirwood sapling growing within the castle, this hints at another root system in the cellars/caverns below the Nightfort.  As far as magic goes, we have the Black Gate, which is also made of weirwood.  I think there are more caverns under the Nightfort if one were to follow the well and tunnels further. 

The Nightfort was one of the first castles built at the Wall, perhaps even before the Wall itself was built.  The name [FORT: A fortified building or strategic position] might imply that you have built your castle on high ground, or a hill.  This isn’t always the case throughout history, but a definite possibility here considering all the other strategically placed magic castles throughout Westeros. 

THE LEGENDS OF THE NIGHTFORT

While we know Brandon the Builder was involved in raising the Wall, there is no record of who actually built the Nightfort.  But there are many stories surrounding its ancient history, including tales of people such as the Rat cook, the seventy-nine sentinels, Danny Flint, King Sherrit and his curse, the thing that came in the night after the apprentice boys and the murderous Mad axe.  There are however, a couple of other interesting characters connected with the Nightfort.     

THE NIGHT’S KING

He brought her back to the Nightfort and proclaimed her a queen and himself her king, and with strange sorceries he bound his Sworn Brothers to his will.  For thirteen years they had ruled, Night’s King and his corpse queen, till finally the Stark of Winterfell and Joramun of the Wildlings had joined to free the Watch from bondage.  After his fall, when it was found he had been sacrificing to the Others, all records of Night’s King had been destroyed, his very name forbidden.

The Night’s King ruled from the Nightfort as lord commander and as self-proclaimed king to his corpse queen.  And of course he had access to the magic of the castle and caverns alike.  The fact he practised strange sorceries on his brothers suggests he could have been aware of the magic the caverns offer.  There is no obvious connection to him being a greenseer, but with the evidence the hollow hills have supplied, he is worthy of consideration.     

SYMEON STAR-EYES

‘’There was a knight once who couldn’t see,’’ Bran said stubbornly, as Ser Rodrik went on below. ‘’Old Nan told me about him.  He had a long staff with blades at both ends and he could spin it in his hands and chop two men at once.’’

‘’Symeon Star-Eyes,’’ Luwin said as he marked numbers in a book. ‘’When he lost his eyes, he put star sapphires in the empty sockets, or so the singers claim.’’

With such accuracy when fighting, it’s hard to believe that the Star-Eyes was blind.  Even after Arya had heightened her senses, it took seeing through the eyes of a skinchanged cat to properly repel attack.  It’s almost as if Symeon could still see somehow.  

‘The History and Legend of Sapphire’ website tells us that…In Greek mythology the sapphire was often worn during the consultation of oracles as it was reputed to tap into the powers of the ‘third eye’.  Sapphires were also thought to have the ability to influence spirits and make clear those oracular sources that were most difficult to hear and understand.  Interestingly, the sapphire was thought to aid in healing, and by the Middle Ages this healing power was ascribed especially for the eyes.

Tapping into the powers of the third eye, and understanding what is difficult to comprehend [wind and rustling leaves] sounds very much like greenseeing.  In light of this, and the sapphire having the ability to heal the eyes leads me to think that Symeon Star-Eyes is another potential greenseer, and that he could somehow use their magic to actually see through his gemstones eyes.   

 

CASTLE BLACK

The vault opened onto one of the tunnels the brothers called the wormwalks, winding subterranean passages that linked the keeps and towers of Castle Black under the earth.  In summer the wormwalks were seldom used, save by rats and other vermin, but winter was a different matter.  When the snows drifted forty or fifty feet high and the ice winds came howling out of the north, the tunnels were all that held Castle Black together.

The wormwalks and wormways which connect the various keeps and towers are evidence of the subterranean levels at the Wall.  These tunnels are mostly used during the winter as it is impossible to travel above ground.  Interestingly, a cave/cavern seems to be the home of the large library beneath Castle Black, it lies along one of these tunnels.

The fact that these passages are used in harsh winter conditions would suggest that all of the castles along the Wall would have similar set ups.  In fact it seems that there is a cave system under large parts of the Wall that may connect with all these castles.  There are no legends attached to Castle Black, so this seems a good time to have a quick look at that.

GENDEL AND GORNE’S CAVERN

They were called upon to mediate a dispute between a clan of children and a family of giants over the possession of a cavern.  Gendel and Gorne, it is said, ultimately resolved the matter through trickery, making both sides disavow any desire for the cavern, after the brothers discovered it was part of a greater chain of caverns that eventually passed beneath the Wall. 

We know that magic was used in the raising of the Wall, so it’s interesting that there is a huge chain of caverns to be found beneath it.  Brandon the Builder, the children, and the giants are all said to have helped build the Wall, and we know that all three are very familiar with the caverns.  In fact, they link the children and potentially Brandon to greenseeing.  Therefore, it seems reasonable to think that all the castles along the Wall may well have access to some of these caverns via their tunnels and wells. 

 

THE QUIET ISLE:  Hermit's Hole –

Brother Narbert led the visitors around a chestnut tree to a wooden door set in the side of the hill. “A cave with a door?” Ser Hyle said, surprised. Septon Meribald smiled. “It is called the Hermit’s Hole. The first holy man to find his way here lived therein, and worked such wonders that others came to join him. That was two thousand years ago, they say. The door came somewhat later.”

If there were First Men/greenseer wars engulfing Westeros in the ancient past, then it would be remiss of George not to include the faith in such tales.  And true to form, here we have the first holy man living in a cave within the side of a hill, and it is said that he ‘worked wonders’ from his base at the Quiet Isle, which sounds an awful lot like he was using the magic of the cavern.   

CONCLUSION

So far we have a huge amount of the important castles up and down Westeros built above the hills, hollow hills or caverns.  A substantial amount of them having weirwood trees, saplings or stumps that insinuate a ‘tangle of roots’ may have formed in one of the caverns below, thus enabling access to the weirnet. 

Moreover, we have a better understanding of who these potential First Men greenseers and their progeny were.  They are based far and wide, in regions including the Reach, the Westerlands, the Iron Islands, the Stormlands, the Riverlands, the North and the Wall.  Here’s a quick reminder of the castles in question, the potential greenseers and the Houses descended from these legends.   

WINTERFELL:  Brandon the Builder. (House Stark)

STORM’S END:  Durran Godsgrief.    (House Durrandon)

HIGHGARDEN:  Garth the Gardener. (House Gardener)

CASTERLY ROCK:  Lann the Clever.     (House Lannister)

GREY KING’S HALL:  The Grey King.    (Including House Greyjoy)

THE HIGHTOWER:  The early Hightower’s. (House Hightower)

HORN HILL:  Harlon the Hunter & Herndon of the Horn. (House Tarly)

NEW CASTLE above the WOLF’S DEN:  Various houses of the north plus the early Manderlys. (House Manderly)

STANDFAST:  The early Osgrey’s (House Osgrey)

DEEPWOOD MOTTE:  The early Glover kings (House Glover)

THE NIGHTFORT: Potentially the Night’s King and Symeon Star-eyes.

CASTLE BLACK:  And all the castles along the Wall that may have a cave system running below them.

THE QUIET ISLE:  The first holy man and some of the subsequent holy men to have followed him.

 

All of this suggests that the First Men were well aware of the magic that the caverns and hollow hills possess.  They may have been greenseers themselves, or perhaps they had greenseers within their midst they could command.  Either way it seems the caverns were key to best harness this magic.   

There are tales of petty kings fighting each other in this era, I think the likelihood is that this involves petty king greenseers, or at least petty kings with greenseers under their control.  Talking of petty kings and the wars of the First Men, we see evidence of these battles scattered throughout Westeros in the form of the ruins left across the landscape.  A study of these ruins have shown that they too had been built on the hills or above caverns, and they also have stories of legend.  Let’s take a look at them….       

 

---------PART III: THE RUINS OF ANCIENT STRONGHOLDS INHABITED BY THE FIRST MEN----------

SEA DRAGON POINT

Sea Dragon Point had not always been as thinly populated as it was now.  Old ruins could still be found amongst its hills and bogs, the remains of ancient strongholds of the First Men.  In the high places, there were weirwood circles left by the children of the forest…………..

‘’What’s there?  I’ll tell you.  Two long coastlines, a hundred hidden coves, otters in the lakes, salmon in the rivers, clams along the shore, colonies of seals offshore, tall pines for building ships.’’

There are hints of potential greenseers from history everywhere at Sea Dragon Point.  The ancient castles/ruins are built amongst the hills, and there are a hundred hidden coves [caves/caverns].  Furthermore, we get the weirwood circles of the children on the high ground, just as we find at High Heart.  Sea Dragon Point also has a history of First Men wars, as we see with the tale of the Warg King.    

THE WARG KING

Chronicles found in the archives of the Night’s Watch at the Nightfort (before it was abandoned) speak of the war for Sea Dragon Point, wherein the Starks brought down the Warg King and his inhuman allies, the children of the forest.  When the Warg King’s last redoubt fell, his sons were put to the sword, along with his beasts and greenseers, whilst his daughters were taken as prizes by their conquerors.

The archives of the Nightfort give us confirmation of greenseers at the cavern laden Sea Dragon Point.  The Warg King may have been one himself, or perhaps he just had them under his command, either way it’s probable they were using the caves within this hilly region to harness their magic, thus having the ability to access the weirnet.  Furthermore, one of the Kings of Winter defeating a Warg King with confirmed greenseers in his midst, is perhaps evidence of greenseer wars in Westeros’ past.

   

THE WHISPERS

But the Cracklaws knew their bogs and forests as no outsider could, and if hard pressed would vanish into the caverns that honeycombed their hills.

Fifty feet below, the waves were swirling in and over the remnants of a shattered tower.  Behind it, she glimpsed the mouth of a large cavern. ‘’That’s the old beacon tower,’’ said Nimble Dick as he came up behind her. ‘’It fell when I was half as old as Pods here.  Used to be steps down to the cove, but when the cliff collapsed they went too.  The smugglers stopped landing there after that.  Time, was, they could row their boats into the cave, but no more.  See?’’………

The sound was just the sea, echoing endlessly through the caverns beneath the castle, rising and falling with each wave.  It did sound like whispering, though, and for a moment she could almost see the heads, sitting on their shelves and muttering to one another. ‘’I should have used the sword’’ one of them was saying. ‘’I should have used the magic sword.’’

There are many caverns deep within the honeycombed hills of Cracklaw Point.  And there is a mouth that opens at the base of the cliff below The Whispers which leads onto another cave/cavern.  This replicates the landings we see at Casterly Rock and Storm's End.  The caverns situated below The Whispers would suggest this is yet another strategically placed castle.  There is also the weirwood sapling growing there, which again may support a weirwood root network within these caverns.  These rare saplings are suddenly popping up above or near the caverns, first at the Nightfort, and now The Whispers. 

SER CLARENCE CRABB

‘’Ser Clarence Crabb would have wiped his hairy arse with your Perfect Knight, m’lady.  If they’d ever have met, there’d be one more bloody head sitting on the shelf at the Whispers, you ask me. ‘I should have used the magic sword,’ it’d be saying to all the other heads. ‘I should have used the bloody sword.’’

The Whispers is named as such because of the legend that Ser Clarence would collect the disembodied heads of his foes after battle, and then take them home to his wife, who would use some sort of magic to raise them from the dead!  Supposedly these heads would on occasion give counsel to Clarence, and at other times just talk amongst themselves in a whisper.  

While this story is hard to believe, I couldn’t ignore the magic mentioned in conjunction with a castle built above the caverns.  There is no obvious greenseer in this tale, unless Ser Clarence’s wife had the gift.  But again it looks as if the castle was set up in an attempt to harness this magic.  Maybe some of the early Crabb’s were greenseers as well.    

 

OLDSTONES

They reached Oldstones after eight more days of steady rain, and made their camp upon the hill overlooking the Blue Fork, within a ruined stronghold of the ancient river kings…………. 

The ruins of what was once Oldstones sit on top a hill, the ancient home to the river kings of the First Men.  It is said that when raised, it was the strongest castle in all of Westeros.  Now the castle is a ruin, and the hill is smothered with years of overgrowth, so we don’t get any hints of tunnels or caverns.  It is notable that this stronghold is situated near to High Heart, perhaps the tunnels and caverns link the two hills.  The kings that made Oldstones their seat in the Age of Heroes were the Mudd’s…. 

TRISTIFER IV MUDD

‘’Here lies Tristifer, the Fourth of His Name, King of the Rivers and the Hills.’’  Her father had told her his story once. ‘’He ruled from the Trident to the Neck, thousands of years before Jenny and her Prince, in the days when the kingdoms of the First Men were falling one after the other before the onslaught of the Andals.  The Hammer of Justice, they called him.  He fought a hundred battles and won ninety-nine, or so the singers say, and when he raised this castle it was the strongest in Westeros.

Having fought a hundred battles and winning ninety-nine of them, it seems that Tristifer the fourth of his name may have lived a greenseeresque long life.  It is said that it took seven Andal kings to eventually bring down Tristifer, he sounds like a powerful man, perhaps a greenseer?  

When the Mudd’s built their castle it was supposedly the strongest in Westeros, and that is a confident claim considering the strongholds we have already studied.  Perhaps theirs was one of the earliest castles built atop the hills?  If so, their end only came with the Andal invasion, which was thousands of years later.  The selected few from House Mudd seem good candidates for being greenseer kings of old.  

                                             

FINAL CONCLUSION

The huge amount of castles built atop the hollow hills and caverns, insinuate that the First Men knew the ways of the greenseers magic, and that they were using it themselves.  Whether they were actually greenseers or they had greenseers under their command, their castles were set up to best utilise the magic of the caverns, and therefore the weirnet.  I think the legends of Brandon the Builder, Lann the Clever, Durran Godsgrief, The Grey King, and the Gardener Kings, all have some truth to them, and that they themselves were greenseers.  Their descendants may or may not have had the gift, but they do have the fully fortified castles that access the caverns below to offer those that do.

With this in mind, the wars of the First Men take on a different, and more magical angle.  Whether it be Stark vs Glover, Stark vs the Warg King, or Gardener vs Manderly they all have the potential to have been greenseer wars.  Not to mention the staggering amount of battles that would have been fought over the thousands of years post First Man migration. 

The image we get from the battle of Sea Dragon Point is I think important, and probably replicates what a lot of these First Men wars were like.  Battles where you’re every move is being watched, greenseers greenseeing, skinchanged beasts of all descriptions fighting alongside hosts of loyal First Men, bloody wars that led to the extinction of some Houses, yet saw others flourish and become even more powerful, holding dominion over these portals into the magic of Westeros. 

Furthermore, just as the First Men did, we have identified many of the potential magic loci that scatter the landscape of Westeros.  The hollow hills, caverns, and the underworld in general seem an integral part of the magic weaving its way through the histories of asoiaf.  There are more sites/castles and legends that are of interest, but they didn’t have the subterranean evidence to site them in this essay.  These include castles based in hilly and mountainous terrain [cavern country] other legends from the Age of Heroes, and islands such as the magical Isle of Faces etc. 

The Houses linked to these magic castles include some of the major players within the current narrative.  The power of the Stark’s we know about, but what of the potential greenseeing/magical ability of the Lannister’s, the Hightower’s, the Tarly’s, and the Greyjoy’s?  All of whom have individuals with important roles to play moving forward. 

This magic, or the knowledge of how to use it dwindled at some point in the past, but is it possible that due to their magic progeny they are more susceptible to the magic re-emerging into this world, therefore making them easier to contact, ala Theon and Jaime?  Will these hollow hills and the subterranean world act as some sort of protection for the people of Westeros if/when the Long Night comes?  And most intriguingly, if Bran does leave Bloodraven’s cave will he find a weirwood throne in a long lost cavern deep below Winterfell from which to rule the North and use the weirnet? 

George went to some lengths to hide the hollow hills and caverns beneath these castles, I’m sure there are many more, and that there is much more to be discussed regards this subject.  I hope this thread/essay will inspire some cool ideas and discussion.  I look forward to everyone’s thoughts.

Thank you for reading.            

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hey Wizz. I have been talking about the hollow hills and how there must be loads of them scattered around, very interesting. I believe they may have the same wards and protective spells as BR's cave, the Wall, and Storms End itself and will possibly serve as a refuge for the smallfolk and highborn ladies and children during the impending Long night. 

I will get a proper read when not so busy and return to the thread.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Nice work. I know this took some time and I can appreciate that.

I always wondered why Wylla Manderly chose green as her rebellious hair color??? ;)

I will give this another read later when I am not working. Also water, most of the places have water in common, like Jon and Ygritte's hidden cave with pool. But that might be off topic for this write-up.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Is it ever mentioned how common greensight was with First Men? I always had the impression that it was an exceptionally rare trait and wouldn't be ubiquitous across First Men families. If it was, then the First Men wouldn't have had nearly as much conflict with the Children when they first arrived.

Additionally, if the War for Sea Dragon Point is a good example of First Men wars, then why is the Warg King specified as such? If this was a common part of warfare, it seems odd to specifically stress this feature in the King's title. 

I do really love this idea though, and definitely think there is more going on with these subterranean caverns. Maybe each castle didn't have greenseers at their disposal, but these spaces were still considered sacred a la Godswoods for some reason?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 38 minutes ago, Scott David said:

Is it ever mentioned how common greensight was with First Men? I always had the impression that it was an exceptionally rare trait and wouldn't be ubiquitous across First Men families. If it was, then the First Men wouldn't have had nearly as much conflict with the Children when they first arrived

Only one in a thousand is born a skinchanger and only one skinchanger in thousand is born a greenseer. But i think those numbers are related to children?

In human kind those numbers are probably less, no? And then is the question if the change is also different between people with more First Man Blood compared to people with more Andal blood (f.e. the North vs House Arryn).

---

Amazing work, Wizz. IIRC you wrote a little piece already on it in the Bran's Power Reread. And I did refer to it recently during a post I wrote in the Puns and Wordplay thread created by Seams (I wanted to tag you but the site did difficult :dunno:

One of the things I wrote was that Brandon in Old/Middle English means "hill covered with broom". So one of the old heroes is named after a hill ;).

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, Macgregor of the North said:

Hey Wizz. I have been talking about the hollow hills and how there must be loads of them scattered around, very interesting. I believe they may have the same wards and protective spells as BR's cave, the Wall, and Storms End itself and will possibly serve as a refuge for the smallfolk and highborn ladies and children during the impending Long night. 

Hey Macgregor.  Yes the magic wards at the sites you mention are very interesting considering the consistency of the caverns and potential magic below.  Serving as a refuge for the small folk, or everyone for that matter, is another interesting subject, I had a very brief chat with @Lady Fishbiscuit on the subject.  Bran mentions the fish and mushrooms and that they kept goats down there to keep them fed, but that is not enough for the shear amount of people in Westeros that would need saving.  Still, worthy of discussion for sure, I look forward to your thoughts.

 

3 hours ago, The Fattest Leech said:

Nice work. I know this took some time and I can appreciate that.

I always wondered why Wylla Manderly chose green as her rebellious hair color??? ;)

I will give this another read later when I am not working. Also water, most of the places have water in common, like Jon and Ygritte's hidden cave with pool. But that might be off topic for this write-up.

 Hi Leech.  :)  Thanks, yeah it did take a while, plus I'm painfully slow.  I love Wylla's green hair catch, good work.  I was pleased to be able to link the Manderly's to these hollow hills.

I'm glad you mentioned the water, or the subterranean river, I actually had a sort of key in my first draft listing some of the things I was searching for beneath these castles.  Tunnels, vaults, ponds, rivers etc... But I thought it would explain itself rather than get too repetitive. [which I have a tendency to do]  And it was getting longer and longer, so that was lost in the edit.  But yes, the ponds/pools, wells, running water were all important for my search.  Jon and Ygritte's cave is absolutely on the radar, but as you mention slightly off topic regards the castles.  I will however look at some of the other options in the future.  Look forward to your thoughts as always.

1 hour ago, Scott David said:

Is it ever mentioned how common greensight was with First Men? I always had the impression that it was an exceptionally rare trait and wouldn't be ubiquitous across First Men families. If it was, then the First Men wouldn't have had nearly as much conflict with the Children when they first arrived.

Additionally, if the War for Sea Dragon Point is a good example of First Men wars, then why is the Warg King specified as such? If this was a common part of warfare, it seems odd to specifically stress this feature in the King's title. 

I do really love this idea though, and definitely think there is more going on with these subterranean caverns. Maybe each castle didn't have greenseers at their disposal, but these spaces were still considered sacred a la Godswoods for some reason?

Hi Scott David, welcome to the forums.

You are right to point out the rarity of the greenseers...one in a thousand are skinchangers then one in a thousand of them are greenseers etc..'  But having found this information I started to question why they would do this, and the one consistent is the access to the caverns the greenseers use.  

I must admit I had the same thought process as you, 'surely they can't all be greenseers'... But then what do we actually know about how many there were with the gift in those days?  And do we know anything of how the first human greenseer got their powers at all?  So I followed my gut and put it out there.  Perhaps I should've warned people to get their tin-foil at the ready.  The Warg King was confirmed to have greenseers under his command, and I had sited the Kings of the North as potential greenseers before, so I was speculating on my vision of that war.  I did mention that the Warg King may have just had the use of them, rather than be one himself. 

History of Westeros and LML have just posted a video on YouTube about the possibility that some of these Houses early legends came from Essos and the magic may have been genetic from all the way back during The Empire of the Dawn.  But I hope you appreciate I don't have the knowledge of that particular subject just yet to give you a more descriptive answer. I will look into that further. 

Thanks for the kind words, and keep bringing the ideas.  There is surely much more to be spoken about regards this subject.                 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Tijgy said:

Amazing work, Wizz. IIRC you wrote a little piece already on it in the Bran's Power Reread. And I did refer to it recently during a post I wrote in the Puns and Wordplay thread created by Seams (I wanted to tag you but the site did difficult :dunno:

One of the things I wrote was that Brandon in Old/Middle English means "hill covered with broom". So one of the old heroes is named after a hill ;).

Hey Tijgy.  And thanks.  :)

That's a very cool catch, 'Brandon -- hill covered with broom'.  Love it!  I shall check out the Puns thread, thanks for the mention. [Those tags can be a pain]    

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Tijgy said:

And I did refer to it recently during a post I wrote in the Puns and Wordplay thread created by Seams (I wanted to tag you but the site did difficult :dunno:

Hey Tijgy, cool post over on the Puns thread, there is a bit of text you quoted about Bran's parallel to Winterfell that jumped out at me regards this line of enquiry....

The stone is strong, Bran told himself, the roots of the trees go deep, and under the ground the Kings of Winter sit their thrones. So long as those remained, Winterfell remained. It was not dead, just broken. Like me, he thought. I'm not dead either."

We know George loves to use double [sometimes it seems triple] meaning when weaving his carefully placed words.  And the bolded insinuates exactly what I am proposing, the Kings of Winter sitting their [weirwood root] thrones under the ground.  It's interesting that he chose the phrase 'under the ground' rather than what would seem the more obvious choice of 'In the crypts' as well.              

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@Wizz-The-Smith, very well done! I'll be interested to see if/how this comes into play in TWoW. 

Not it to get off-topic too much, but I've long speculated that Gornes Way connects to what lies below the crypts of Winterfell. Taking that concept further and piggybacking on your list of First Men strongholds, do you think any others may be linked by tunnels? It seems unlikely as the FM would surely have exploited this during their wars. It's an interesting thought, though, and one that could be interesting to the plot line. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
20 minutes ago, maegiithefrog said:

very well done! I'll be interested to see if/how this comes into play in TWoW. 

Not it to get off-topic too much, but I've long speculated that Gornes Way connects to what lies below the crypts of Winterfell. Taking that concept further and piggybacking on your list of First Men strongholds, do you think any others may be linked by tunnels? It seems unlikely as the FM would surely have exploited this during their wars. It's an interesting thought, though, and one that could be interesting to the plot line. 

Hi maegiithefrog.  :)  And thanks, I too will be interested to see how this develops into TWoW territory.  Hopefully this thread sparks some cool ideas and discussion to look out for!

I agree that Gorne's Way probably links with Winterfell.  The cavern system under the Wall may link all those castles together too.  I think High Heart probably links to Oldstone's in the Riverland's as well.  But there's no way I can say all these tunnels and caverns link the whole of Westeros together, though it must be said that there seems a decent amount of evidence to say at least some of this underworld is connected.  

Whilst in 'Jon and Ygritte's cave', Ygritte spoke of these caves and tunnels....  ''You know nothing Jon Snow.  It went on and on.  There are hundreds o' caves in these hills, and down deep they all connect.  There's even a way under your Wall.''   

Speculative, but George has put it out there.  :dunno:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Another thing that Winterfell is built on top of that is worth mentioning (in my opinion) are the hot springs. They are often mentioned as what allows Winterfell to stay warm during the summer, and how the water comes piping up through the walls. Catelyn mentions this when describing her bedchambers in A Game of Thrones, and Sansa mentions it when describing Winterfell to Littlefinger.

But if it's the water that heats winterfell up, then why isn't it working for the Boltons now? The hot water comes from the ground.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
10 hours ago, Scott David said:

Additionally, if the War for Sea Dragon Point is a good example of First Men wars, then why is the Warg King specified as such? If this was a common part of warfare, it seems odd to specifically stress this feature in the King's title. 

Well I wouldn't guess that it is "common" - if there are only a handful of greenseers of skinchangers alive at a given time, it is likely that they would be kings or lords in some fashion. I don't think there were ever very many... but the story of the Warg King speaks of him having "greenseers" plural in his power, so more than one greenseer was alive and working for him at the same time... meaning it wasn't that rare, at least in ancient days.

As for the name, it doesn't necessarily mean he was the only one, just a notable one who was so potent as to be remembered as THE Warg King. There is an "Ice Eyes" Stark and a "Snowbeard" Stark, and Aegon the Conqueror is called "The Dragon" but he's not the only dragon riding king and not the only one to be called "the dragon." 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Great OP @Wizz-The-Smith, of course you showed me your notes on this a few weeks back, you did a great job making a concise list of all the locations. The point isn't to prove them all conclusively, but to show a pattern and show that some of these have very strong evidence indeed, and you've done a bang-up job.

I think it's really important to point something out for everyone: greenseers do not have to be woven into the tree roots - or even sitting on a weirwood throne - to access weirwoodnet. At the end of Bran's last ADWD chapter, after he eats the weirwood paste and sits in the throne and sees through the eyes of the Winterfell godswood, we finishes that session and iscarried off to his bed chamber, which is a separate chamber. Then he falls asleep, looking at a candle flame, and as he does, he continues to see through the eyes of the WF heart tree. Now, perhaps it still works because he's still in the cave system which is woven with weirwood roots, but it's also possible that once the connection is formed, a greenseer might be able to access weirwoodnet whilst out and about... and wouldn't that be a useful thing. Or perhaps a terrifying thing. The Warg King implies this very thing however: he went to war with his greenseers. Were they all sitting in distant caves, helping remotely? Maybe this is what the story means, but I think it also implies they went to war with him, like walking, mobile greenseers, who could still access all of their powers on the go. 

Applying simple logic, we can deduce much. We know that humans can be greenseers. We know that humans tend to abuse their power. We know that greenseers have access to basically god-like power. It is therefore only logical to deduce that human greenseer kings would have been a things in Dawn Age Westeros. Wiz has laid out the potential network of hollow hills and sacred caverns which may well be the hallmark of these greenseer kings, and when you put it all together, I think it's one of those kind of huge things which has been right under our noses for a long time.. although that's more true since TWOIAF, a lot of the pieces of the puzzle are also in the main series. 

Wizz, a couple of things to add. One, the Manderlys count themselves as knights of the green hand, an order tied to Garth and the first Gardener Kings, and sigil is a green hand. I strongly agree that Garth was a greenseer, and probably a human / humanoid one, not an cotf, and some or all of his children may well have been too. Garth was said to have stag antlers, and that's a direct callout to Cerrunos and the horned god mythology of Celtic and European myth. The Sacred Order of Green Men on the Isle of Faces also are said to have antlers, and this is more of the same folk as Garth IMO. Not sure if the antlers are more symbolic or real, but we see they made an impression, as the Storm Kings have been copying this "stag man" image for thousands of years as well. That fact actually further corroborates the Storm Kings as greenseers. Basically, the antler-headed storm-bringer is the angry version of Garth, the one who challenges the gods and defies / defiles the natural order. That kind of gets back to my concept of the Grey King as a "naughty greenseer," and he angered the storm god just like Durran did. In fact, in my Weirwood Compendium series I will be directly contrasting the Grey King and Durran Godsgrief very soon. 

Thanks of the mention by the way, and the link to my new Grey King essay is here.

I started a thread for the new Great Empire of the Dawn video here, come on by when you have a moment Wizz. :)

P.S> did you mention that Clarence Crabb road an aurochs? You probably cannot do that unless you are a skinchanger. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote

Hey Macgregor.  Yes the magic wards at the sites you mention are very interesting considering the consistency of the caverns and potential magic below.  Serving as a refuge for the small folk, or everyone for that matter, is another interesting subject, I had a very brief chat with @Lady Fishbiscuit on the subject.  Bran mentions the fish and mushrooms and that they kept goats down there to keep them fed, but that is not enough for the shear amount of people in Westeros that would need saving.  Still, worthy of discussion for sure, I look forward to your thoughts.

@Wizz-The-Smith

To stay with this briefly, I had considered the food dilemma Westeros would face underground but if you compare it to the already impending hardships the people will face above ground concerning food and survival then a stay in warded hollow hills or castles like Storms End is really the only option if anyone wants to live.

There is no hope for anyone above ground if the Others stalk the realm making the cold weather twice as harsh as they seem to do, they will simply wash over everything in their path until they meet with properly equipped resistance.

"They swept over holdfasts and cities and kingdoms, felled heroes and armies by the score, riding their pale dead horses and leading hosts of the slain."

I believe Bran will contact certain people (not sure what book yet) and inform them of every such stronghold in Westeros and smallfolk and highborn alike will head below ground, or into Storms End or any other such warded castle with as many food stores as possible from the last harvests and any livestock they still own.

Im even sticking my neck out as far as to state i think it's possible Bran himself is the one who contacts members of the line of King Durran and guides him with the building of Storms End with its magic wards and spells so that it endures every storm through thousands of years to serve as a refuge against the Storms of the Long night come again.

In this way though, I'm not implying Bran is changing the past, he always was the young boy who told Durran what he needed to do, closing off a cleverly inserted stable timeloop.

"Some said the children of the forest helped him build it, shaping the stones with magic; others claimed that a small boy told him what he must do, a boy who would grow to be Bran the Builder."

"In their wroth, they sent howling winds and lashing rains to knock down every castle Durran dared to build, until a young boy helped him erect one so strong and cunningly made that it could defy their gales. The boy grew to be Brandon the Builder"

Another last word on the coming Long Night. I do not think it will last generations, obviously! GRRM could simply just not make that work on page. 

The battles will have heroes, they will die, other heroes will perform great deeds etc, and it will end in some spectacular fashion of course where the smallfolk and highborn who have hidden in the warded strongholds have not needed to be there for generations.

I don't think this spectacular fashion will be a necessarily beautiful thing that will leave us all smiling either, it will be completely bittersweet as promised but we are expecting nothing less.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, it is concept from Celtic mythology, in which hollow hills were connected to magic, Otherworld and fairy folk, Tuatha De Danann lived in hollow hills.

So it is probably correct theory.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 10/10/2016 at 0:18 PM, Macgregor of the North said:

Hey Wizz. I have been talking about the hollow hills and how there must be loads of them scattered around, very interesting. I believe they may have the same wards and protective spells as BR's cave, the Wall, and Storms End itself and will possibly serve as a refuge for the smallfolk and highborn ladies and children during the impending Long night. 

I will get a proper read when not so busy and return to the thread.

I think the caves and hollow hills have already been used as a refuge for people who don't want to be conquered:

Rhaenys Targaryen . . . descended upon Vaith to demand its submission, only to find the castle empty and abandoned. In the town beneath its walls, only women and children and old men remained. When asked where their lords had gone, they would only say, "Away." Rhaenys followed the river downtstream to Godsgrace, seat of House Allyrion, but it too was deserted. On she flew . . .

Finally the queen's flight took her to Sunspear, the ancient seat of House Martell, where she found the Princess of Dorne waiting in her abandoned castle....

(The World of Ice and Fire - The Reign of the Dragons - The Conquest)

And Arianne will stumble on something she doesn't expect in TWoW:

Spoiler

 

The wood was full of caves as well. That first night they took shelter in one of them, to get out of the wet. ... After they ate, Elia Sand turned a stick and some dry moss into a torch, and went off exploring deeper in the cave. "See that you do not go too far," Arianne told her. "Some of these caves go very deep, it is easy to get lost."

The cave proved much deeper than any of them had suspected. Beyond the stony mouth where her company had made their camp and hobbled their horses, a series of twisty passageways led down and down, with black holes snaking off to either side. Further in, the walls opened up again, and the searchers found themselves in a vast limestone cavern, larger than the great hall of a castle. Their shouts disturbed a nest of bats, who flapped about them noisily, but only distant echoes shouted back. A slow circuit of the hall revealed three further passages, one so small that it would have required them to proceed on hands and knees. "We will try the others first," the princess said. "Daemon, come with me. Garibald, Joss, you try the other one."

The passageway Arianne had chosen for herself turned steep and wet within a hundred feet. The footing grew uncertain. Once she slipped, and had to catch herself to keep from sliding. More than once she considered turning back, but she could see Ser Daemon's torch ahead and hear him calling for Elia, so she pressed on. And all at once she found herself in another cavern, five times as big as the last one, surrounded by a forest of stone columns. Daemon Sand moved to her side and raised his torch. "Look how the stone's been shaped," he said. "Those columns, and the wall there. See them?"  

"Faces," said Arianne. So many sad eyes, staring..

"This place belonged to the children of the forest."

(TWoW, Arianne I)

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
21 minutes ago, Seams said:

I think the caves and hollow hills have already been used as a refuge for people who don't want to be conquered:

Rhaenys Targaryen . . . descended upon Vaith to demand its submission, only to find the castle empty and abandoned. In the town beneath its walls, only women and children and old men remained. When asked where their lords had gone, they would only say, "Away." Rhaenys followed the river downtstream to Godsgrace, seat of House Allyrion, but it too was deserted. On she flew . . .

Finally the queen's flight took her to Sunspear, the ancient seat of House Martell, where she found the Princess of Dorne waiting in her abandoned castle....

(The World of Ice and Fire - The Reign of the Dragons - The Conquest)

And Arianne will stumble on something she doesn't expect in TWoW:

  Reveal hidden contents

 

The wood was full of caves as well. That first night they took shelter in one of them, to get out of the wet. ... After they ate, Elia Sand turned a stick and some dry moss into a torch, and went off exploring deeper in the cave. "See that you do not go too far," Arianne told her. "Some of these caves go very deep, it is easy to get lost."

The cave proved much deeper than any of them had suspected. Beyond the stony mouth where her company had made their camp and hobbled their horses, a series of twisty passageways led down and down, with black holes snaking off to either side. Further in, the walls opened up again, and the searchers found themselves in a vast limestone cavern, larger than the great hall of a castle. Their shouts disturbed a nest of bats, who flapped about them noisily, but only distant echoes shouted back. A slow circuit of the hall revealed three further passages, one so small that it would have required them to proceed on hands and knees. "We will try the others first," the princess said. "Daemon, come with me. Garibald, Joss, you try the other one."

The passageway Arianne had chosen for herself turned steep and wet within a hundred feet. The footing grew uncertain. Once she slipped, and had to catch herself to keep from sliding. More than once she considered turning back, but she could see Ser Daemon's torch ahead and hear him calling for Elia, so she pressed on. And all at once she found herself in another cavern, five times as big as the last one, surrounded by a forest of stone columns. Daemon Sand moved to her side and raised his torch. "Look how the stone's been shaped," he said. "Those columns, and the wall there. See them?"  

"Faces," said Arianne. So many sad eyes, staring..

"This place belonged to the children of the forest."

(TWoW, Arianne I)

 

 

Good find Seams. 

As to the spoiler:

Spoiler

I have thought since I read that passage that they have stumbled on to a warded underground former stronghold of the Cotf full of ancient petrified Weirwood trees. Awesome chapter.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
15 hours ago, LmL said:

Great OP @Wizz-The-Smith, of course you showed me your notes on this a few weeks back, you did a great job making a concise list of all the locations. The point isn't to prove them all conclusively, but to show a pattern and show that some of these have very strong evidence indeed, and you've done a bang-up job.

 I think it's one of those kind of huge things which has been right under our noses for a long time.. although that's more true since TWOIAF, a lot of the pieces of the puzzle are also in the main series.  

Hey LML, thanks for your kind words regards the OP.  And yes, you're right in saying that while the World book fleshes this out nicely, you could pretty much just use the novels and come to same conclusion.  I think TWOIAF has given us some important info regards Essos that may help build this idea moving forward, some of which you have already spoken about of course.  Amongst a few things, the history and progeny of the legends may answer a few questions about the early greenseers. 

 

15 hours ago, LmL said:

Wizz, a couple of things to add. One, the Manderlys count themselves as knights of the green hand, an order tied to Garth and the first Gardener Kings, and sigil is a green hand. I strongly agree that Garth was a greenseer, and probably a human / humanoid one, not an cotf, and some or all of his children may well have been too.

Great point about the Manderly’s being knights of the green hand, the evidence builds.  And I agree some, if not all of Garth the Green’s children were greenseers too.  We have Garth the Gardener and Harlon and Hern in my essay. [All of whom I know you've had you're eye on]  Plus, if you look at where some of the other children of Garth’s Houses/castles are based, they’re in ‘hilly and mountainous terrain’, rather suggestive of cavern country. 

Then there is Rose of Red Lake who is a known skinchanger able to take the form of a crane, founder of House Crane, who are said to have kept the ability to this day.  There is no evidence at the castle itself, but there is an island on the lake.  Once Silverwing had fled to the wild she made her lair on this island which insinuates there’s probably another cavern there.  I think it likely we’ll find a cavern on the Isle of Faces as well. 

As @Seams has pointed out before in her 'seams and magic portals thread', the islands in general are very interesting, if nothing else we have known green men making one their home.  In regards to the early Houses of Westeros, the seat of the Dayne’s is another one to watch.  It is on an island, but also it’s based in the Red Mountains, again perfect for caverns.  I really hope we get to see Starfall moving forward.

Love that you link Clarence Crabb to skinchanging via the riding of the aurochs.  I have a couple of thoughts about that particular tale, but I haven’t joined the dots yet, so to speak.  I’ll drop in to your new Empire of the Dawn thread soon, our research seems to point in the same directions, and some of the ideas in your new video had my mind racing.  And it's an excuse to watch the video again, great collaboration by the way, I'm a sucker for anything History of Westeros, and it's great to see them incorporate your ideas.  :)          

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
15 hours ago, Macgregor of the North said:

To stay with this briefly, I had considered the food dilemma Westeros would face underground but if you compare it to the already impending hardships the people will face above ground concerning food and survival then a stay in warded hollow hills or castles like Storms End is really the only option if anyone wants to live.

Good point.  I do agree with your suggestion that this underworld is a likely lifeline for the people of Westeros, and I like your idea of the ward we find at some of these locations keeping the White Walkers at bay.  I was merely pointing out that this is a huge undertaking with food problems, communication problems etc...  But yes, at this point this does seem like their only option.  As you suggest, it may be a bit of a mess!!

Don't worry about 'staying with this briefly', it's all fair game and worthy of discussion.  If you have some ideas around the hollow hills I'd love to read them, I think this idea has multiple angles we can explore.  In fact one of your threads hit on something that might be of interest here as well as to you.  Look at the description of King's Landing before Aegon invaded...

The modest Targaryen host put ashore at the mouth of the Blackwater Rush, on the northern bank where three wooded hills rose above a small fishing village.  In the days of the hundred kingdoms, many petty kings had claimed dominion over the river mouth, amongst them the Darklyn kings of Duskendale, the river kings of old, be they Mudd's, Fishers, Brackens, Blackwoods, or Hooks.  Towers and forts had crowned the three hills at various times, only to be thrown down in one war or another.  Now only broken stones and overgrown ruins remained to welcome the Targaryens.  

While this information is evidence of more First Men ruins within the hills and potential greenseers wars, it is also good evidence that there are caverns there.  Your thread on the Ned and darkness in the dungeons of the Red Keep may be linked to the caverns of these hollow hills.  We know the Red Keep has many subterranean levels, the lowest of which, as you've posted about, are cloaked in darkness.  This replicates the darkness we find in the potentially magic caverns. 

@ravenous reader pointed out a great bit of text that describes what lies beneath the Red Keep......... 

On the third level the cells are smaller and the doors are wood.  The black cells, men call them.  That was where you were kept, and Eddard Stark before you.  But there is a lower level still.  Once a man is taken down to the fourth level, he never sees the sun again……….

Unless my brother murdered Varys too, and left his corpse to rot beneath the castle. Down there, it might be years before his bones were found. Jaime had led a dozen guards below, with torches and ropes and lanterns. For hours they had groped through twisting passages, narrow crawl spaces, hidden doors, secret steps, and shafts that plunged down into utter blackness. Seldom had he felt so utterly a cripple. A man takes much for granted when he has two hands. Ladders, for an instance. Even crawling did not come easy; not for nought do they speak of hands and knees. Nor could he hold a torch and climb, as others could.

And all for naught. They found only darkness, dust, and rats. And dragons, lurking down below. He remembered the sullen orange glow of the coals in the iron dragon's mouth. The brazier warmed a chamber at the bottom of a shaft where half a dozen tunnels met. On the floor he'd found a scuffed mosaic of the three-headed dragon of House Targaryen done in tiles of black and red. I know you, Kingslayer, the beast seemed to be saying. I have been here all the time, waiting for you to come to me. And it seemed to Jaime that he knew that voice, the iron tones that had once belonged to Rhaegar, Prince of Dragonstone.

Anyway, I think the lower levels of the Red Keep and King's Landing are probably more of these caverns we're looking for.  Thanks for the replies Macgregor, you and I think alike it seems, Bran, wind, hollow hills...all cool stuff.  :)            

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

×