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Bonkers

Why is the Winterfell Heart Tree pond so cold?

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It has been bugging me for AGES.  Why is the only freezing cold water in the God's Wood, in the ground at Winterfell, at the base of the heart tree?  All the other springs and pools are hot?  There are enough of them to heat most of the whole castle!  Has anyone got any theories on this, or know of any good discussions on it?  It appears to be quite deep, or so Bran thinks in his discussion with Osha, and she certainly appeared to be diving quite deep as there were only faint/small ripples on the surface when Hodor sat him next to it. 

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2 hours ago, Bonkers said:

It has been bugging me for AGES.  Why is the only freezing cold water in the God's Wood, in the ground at Winterfell, at the base of the heart tree?  All the other springs and pools are hot?  There are enough of them to heat most of the whole castle!  Has anyone got any theories on this, or know of any good discussions on it?  It appears to be quite deep, or so Bran thinks in his discussion with Osha, and she certainly appeared to be diving quite deep as there were only faint/small ripples on the surface when Hodor sat him next to it. 

Well, there is of course the oft-discussed parallel with George's unrelated story, I think its called  "The Ice Dragon". A children's story set in a world with some similar elements to Westeros, where an Ice Dragon fights a bunch of Fire Dragons, and when it dies it melts into a pool that remains ice cold for eternity.

Interesting, although of course it is impossible to say how much of it served as influences for A Song of Ice and Fire.

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1 hour ago, Bonkers said:

That is interesting.  Maybe it was slain with the original ICE and the sword is at the bottom of the pool LOL

No, in the story it died fighting a bunch of fire dragons. It defeated the fire dragons, but was melted by them in return, or something along those lines.

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14 minutes ago, Free Northman Reborn said:

No, in the story it died fighting a bunch of fire dragons. It defeated the fire dragons, but was melted by them in return, or something along those lines.

I guess I was referring to IF there had been one in this SOIAF story, that could have happened...but I was just joking anyway. :P

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As long as we're trying to making sense of the geology of Winterfell, how can they have ponds next to dry crypts that go down multiple stories?  Where is the water table?

One theory I've heard is that the heart tree pond connects with the caves beyond the Wall.

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I always thought it was just a standard (albeit very deep) pond: not connected to any of the hot springs. Because of this, it's volume, the fact that it's shaded by trees and the fact that it's located in the cold cold North, is enough to explain its temperature IMO.

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1 minute ago, Maester of Valyria said:

I always thought it was just a standard (albeit very deep) pond: not connected to any of the hot springs. Because of this, it's volume, the fact that it's shaded by trees and the fact that it's located in the cold cold North, is enough to explain its temperature IMO.

I agree!  Surface water runoff accounts for all the other ponds, rivers and streams in the story as well.  Unless a source from a spring is mentioned we can assume the water got there as rainwater ultimately. 

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1 hour ago, Roose on the Loose said:

As long as we're trying to making sense of the geology of Winterfell, how can they have ponds next to dry crypts that go down multiple stories?  Where is the water table?

One theory I've heard is that the heart tree pond connects with the caves beyond the Wall.

It's mentioned a number of times that Winterfell is not on level ground with some areas being at least a storey higher than others, so the pool in the godswood could be quite low down compared to other areas around it. The crypts could be under a hill (see the hollow hills thread for many similar examples), meaning that the upper levels of them are like 'ground level' compared with other parts of the Winterfell site. I like the theory that the godswood pool is connected to an underground river that originates beyond the wall.

I have to say, I haven't looked at this in detail, so I don't know if any if that is geographically possible or fits with existing descriptions though.

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So I just remembered that Winterfell is composed largely if not exclusively of granite. Granite is an impermeable rock, and it may well have been mined in the region. This may indicate that the underlying geology of the region is predominantly granite, which would make the existence of an isolated deep pool more likely.

However the complex cave system beneath Winterfell is indicative of a karst landscape (limestone). It's possible that the granite was extruded out on top of the limestone, that plates of granite were lifted on top of the limestone as tectonic plates shifted, or that there is in fact only a smallish area of granite and that most of the stone used in the construction of the castle was mined elsewhere. The pool may even have been an artificial feature created for the godswood?

 

 

23 minutes ago, Lady Fishbiscuit said:

It's mentioned a number of times that Winterfell is not on level ground with some areas being at least a storey higher than others, so the pool in the godswood could be quite low down compared to other areas around it. The crypts could be under a hill (see the hollow hills thread for many similar examples), meaning that the upper levels of them are like 'ground level' compared with other parts of the Winterfell site. I like the theory that the godswood pool is connected to an underground river that originates beyond the wall.

I have to say, I haven't looked at this in detail, so I don't know if any if that is geographically possible or fits with existing descriptions though.

Oh yes I forgot about the ground level. You may be right on that.

51 minutes ago, White Ravens said:

I agree!  Surface water runoff accounts for all the other ponds, rivers and streams in the story as well.  Unless a source from a spring is mentioned we can assume the water got there as rainwater ultimately. 

Exactly! Occam's Razor here :D

 

 

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Since I have no better explanation, I'm gonna go with magic. Maybe something to remind the Starks of the importance of their house words.

Picking up on the reference to The Ice Dragon...the castle is named Winterfell. Maybe that's the spot where The Great Other (assuming there is one) was killed in the War for the Dawn. Which would be incredibly funny given that the fandom name for the Other Sam killed is Puddles. :D

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11 hours ago, Free Northman Reborn said:

Well, there is of course the oft-discussed parallel with George's unrelated story, I think its called  "The Ice Dragon". A children's story set in a world with some similar elements to Westeros, where an Ice Dragon fights a bunch of Fire Dragons, and when it dies it melts into a pool that remains ice cold for eternity.

Interesting, although of course it is impossible to say how much of it served as influences for A Song of Ice and Fire.

 

3 hours ago, Lady Blizzardborn said:

Since I have no better explanation, I'm gonna go with magic. Maybe something to remind the Starks of the importance of their house words.

Picking up on the reference to The Ice Dragon...the castle is named Winterfell. Maybe that's the spot where The Great Other (assuming there is one) was killed in the War for the Dawn. Which would be incredibly funny given that the fandom name for the Other Sam killed is Puddles. :D

I suspect these are on the right track, if not directly on target. The proximity to the weirwood may be a reason the temperature is cold in that particular pool: just as the heart tree would drink the blood of sacrifices made over its roots, it may drink the warmth out of the spring. But melted Others or an ice dragon might also explain it.

Jon has a dream or vision of Ygritte in that pool, with all of her flesh coming off and only her skeleton remaining. I believe that Ygritte is to ASOIAF as the White Witch is to Narnia, with Jon in the role of Edmund Pevensey. I suspect that Ygritte's flesh coming off her bones is the equivalent of a snowman melting or an Other being stabbed with obsidian. So the cold pool reinforces this symbol of the ice queen who becomes one with the WInterfell gods wood.

I also recently found that the gods wood at Winterfell is on the short list of places explicitly identified as an "old place." (In fact, it is the first place on the list.) I'm still working out the possible wordplay connection between "old place" and "cold, pale." The Others are often described as cold and pale. So maybe the pool is made of the same substance that forms The Others.

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5 hours ago, Maester of Valyria said:

I always thought it was just a standard (albeit very deep) pond: not connected to any of the hot springs. Because of this, it's volume, the fact that it's shaded by trees and the fact that it's located in the cold cold North, is enough to explain its temperature IMO.

My take as well. Also b/c, from the info we get, it doesn't seem to be unnaturally cold or colder than it should be. 

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10 hours ago, Bonkers said:

I guess I was referring to IF there had been one in this SOIAF story, that could have happened...but I was just joking anyway. :P

Two things:

One, here is a link of you want to listen to the story the Ice Dragon. You'll swear it is set in Wetseros a few decades before our current story. (but it is not)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2odZmDB5OD4

Two. I cannot stop laughing at your new avatar picture. Frickin' hilarious. I liked your last one, too.

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I don't buy into the ice dragon explanation.  There are many plausible explanations.  The pond may be fed by an underground spring and the source water could come from farther north.  Simple depth could explain.  Great depth combined with a small surface area can keep the water cool even in summer. 

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21 hours ago, Seams said:

 

I suspect these are on the right track, if not directly on target. The proximity to the weirwood may be a reason the temperature is cold in that particular pool: just as the heart tree would drink the blood of sacrifices made over its roots, it may drink the warmth out of the spring. But melted Others or an ice dragon might also explain it.

Jon has a dream or vision of Ygritte in that pool, with all of her flesh coming off and only her skeleton remaining. I believe that Ygritte is to ASOIAF as the White Witch is to Narnia, with Jon in the role of Edmund Pevensey. I suspect that Ygritte's flesh coming off her bones is the equivalent of a snowman melting or an Other being stabbed with obsidian. So the cold pool reinforces this symbol of the ice queen who becomes one with the WInterfell gods wood.

I also recently found that the gods wood at Winterfell is on the short list of places explicitly identified as an "old place." (In fact, it is the first place on the list.) I'm still working out the possible wordplay connection between "old place" and "cold, pale." The Others are often described as cold and pale. So maybe the pool is made of the same substance that forms The Others.

Whoa! What if there must always be a Stark in Winterfell to guard that pool? Not that the Others we're seeing have come from it, but what if them getting a hold of that pool gave them some kind of huge advantage?

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Can a greenseer's body temperature come through on the other end? There's plenty of reason to believe Bloodraven has been watching through that tree. And if future-Bran is watching while winter/Others are ravaging the far north, it would be pretty cold. Or maybe an Other has weirwood access, too.

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26 minutes ago, cgrav said:

Can a greenseer's body temperature come through on the other end? There's plenty of reason to believe Bloodraven has been watching through that tree. And if future-Bran is watching while winter/Others are ravaging the far north, it would be pretty cold. Or maybe an Other has weirwood access, too.

That would not be good for mankind. But on the other hand, it would even the playing field a bit.

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1 hour ago, Lady Blizzardborn said:

That would not be good for mankind. But on the other hand, it would even the playing field a bit.

Would also explain why the Others started getting active again as the Stark kids were coming of age, and their reaction to Waymar Royce. "Is that the superhero we saw who was prophesied kill us all? Oh no lol it's just some guy who looks like him. I got this".

Sometimes I wonder if that pond serves some specific purpose to the tree (besides water). Is it how a greenseer sees him/her self, in the reflection? If temperature does come through the tree, would the pond freeze when the Others start using the weirnet more often, providing a warning to the Starks? 

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On 2/19/2017 at 11:04 PM, Bonkers said:

It has been bugging me for AGES.  Why is the only freezing cold water in the God's Wood, in the ground at Winterfell, at the base of the heart tree?  All the other springs and pools are hot?  There are enough of them to heat most of the whole castle!  Has anyone got any theories on this, or know of any good discussions on it?  It appears to be quite deep, or so Bran thinks in his discussion with Osha, and she certainly appeared to be diving quite deep as there were only faint/small ripples on the surface when Hodor sat him next to it. 

The pool is in the north, where it snows in the summer, and there is a giant wall made of ice. 

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