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Black Crow

Heresy 195 and the Mists of Time

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7 hours ago, PrettyPig said:


Note also the connection between not only the color scheme and symbology, but the question itself:  "Who are you?"

The Faceless Men shed all vestiges of their past individual lives and become No One.   When you think about it, so do the men of the Night's Watch. 

"No one" is really an all-encompassing term that can also mean "everyone" - when you have no base identity, you can assume multiple different ones....somewhat similar to the following, which could also be viewed as all-encompassing:   "I am the watcher on the walls. I am the fire that burns against the cold, the light that brings the dawn, the horn that wakes the sleepers. I am the shield that guards the realms of men."   

In other words, the old part of the NW oath is intended to confirm to the Black Gate (the way Arya and other acolytes intend to confirm to the Kindly Man) that the person uttering it serves the realm by acting as many while simultaneously being sans personal identity.

I was thinking more along the lines of comparing "who are you" to "Open Sesame" or "open says me" like my daughters would say when they were young. A magical incantation that opens a magical door.

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On 2017-1-24 at 4:25 AM, Lord Wraith said:

The oldest histories we have were written after the Andals came to Westeros. The First Men only left us runes on rocks, so everything we think we know about the Age of Heroes and the Dawn Age and the Long Night comes from accounts set down by septons thousands of years later. There are archmaesters at the Citadel who question all of it. The old histories are full of kings who reigned for hundreds of years, and knights riding around a thousand years before there were knights. You know the tales, Brandon the Builder, Symeon Star-eyes, Knight’s King…we say that you’re the nine-hundred-and-ninety-eighth Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch, but the oldest list I’ve found shows six hundred seventy-four commanders, which suggests that it was written during-“


“Long ago,” Jon broke in…

I think what Sam is really questioning here is whether Jon is indeed the 998th LC of the Night's Watch. It sounds as if the list he found suggests otherwise, as the sentence goes "we say you're the 998th LC ... but the list says...". 

So I would be careful to assume that there were 300-some LCs after the ones on the list. It could be more or fewer. (I suspect more, partly b/c he doesn't say "the list only shows 674 commanders", and because as JNR pointed out, none of the names seemed familiar to Sam, so it must have been a very, very old list (and it wasn't dated, which is also strange if it was written by a maester after the Andals came).

On 2017-1-24 at 2:55 AM, Black Crow said:

One of the things Sam talks about is the oldest list of Lord Commanders he’s discovered, with 674 names on it. Now the point about any list of Lord Commanders is that depending on how its arranged it will either begin or end with the current incumbent. Once again, although Jon cuts him off, its easy to work out that it was only compiled about 324 Lord Commanders ago, or if we apply the 8 year average approximately 2600 years ago, which is well within the second phase of the Wall’s existence, but it does beg one more question given that GRRM through Sam draws our attention to it. How reliable is the list and did the compiler use an average of 8 years a pop to reach back to that legendary foundation date?

I'm not sure we should assume 8 years as the average. Mormont ruled for 11 years, Qorgyle for 36, Bloodraven for 13 (coincidence??), Osric Stark for 60. WIthout Others around, being LC of the NW is not that dangerous of a position, that we would expect an 8 year average. 

My point being... if we assume 10 years, and we've had 998 LCs (possibly more!) ... then the Watch is over 10,000 years old. If it's 12 years, it's 12,000 years old. Etc.  The Watch then must have existed well before the Long Night. Even if we stick with the 8 years, we're still at almost 8,000 years for the NW, when it seems likely that the LN was closer to 4,000-6,000 years ago...

I think this is what GRRM wanted us to notice. Along with the watchers on the walls, and the fire that burns against the cold. The light that brings the dawn. These are fire references in a religious context; something Mel would say, combined with service in a location that is clearly not the Wall. Add to this that the NW may well predate the LN, and we have an organization that may have come to Westeros along with the First Men.  This could at least partly explain why they wear black against a white backdrop (which makes no sense otherwise) - they started out keeping watch from black walls. Or maybe they started out some different color that was replaced during the LN, since by night, all cloaks are black.

I can't help but wonder how such an organization, which is very focused on fire, light and dawn in order to keep away the cold and darkness, would feel about the watchers in the trees....:devil:

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On 2017-2-18 at 10:36 PM, Lady Dyanna said:

I think  I'm more inclined to go along with your alternative interpretation as well. It seems that there are a lot of dualities and equal but opposites in our story. The Shadowlands beyond Asshai and the Curtain of Light. The Land of Always Summer and the Land of Always Winter, Valyria and Hardhome. Makes me wonder.... It seems pretty clear that the Shadowlands are lands poisoned by magic. So are the Sorrows. Does that mean that's what happened with Valyria, with Hardhome, with the area beyond the Curtain of Light? And what was the purpose of using enough magic that it poisoned the environment? Immortality? 

While I don't have a great answer to your question, I want to point out that we know these "magic pollution events" to have different causes. The Sorrows were once a lovely stretch of river until the Rhoynar (specifically Garin the Grey) poisoned them with water magic after they were defeated by Valyria. Little and less is known about the Shadowlands, though the Bloodstone Emperor may have contributed to the magical pollution of Asshai. Valyria and Hardhome are not clearly linked to any sort of conflict or war; which isn't to say they couldn't have been attacked by someone/something wielding fire magic, but they also could have had an "accident" with the magic they were using (moreso Valyria than Hardhome, probably).

I agree with Brad Stark that GRRM treats magic (and maybe we want to limit this statement to blood magic?) a bit like a weapon of mass destruction: when it is used, it leaves behind uninhabitable wastelands and mutated "demons", while also being dangerous to handle and having the potential to accidentally destroy your own lands/people.


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