Wizz-The-Smith Posted October 10, 2016 Share Posted October 10, 2016 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. Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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