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Black Crow

Heresy 203 and growing suspicions anent the Starks

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25 minutes ago, LynnS said:

A question about Mance.  He tells Jon that when he came disguised as Abel to Winterfell, that Benjen did not know him by sight.  And yet the Halfhand tells Jon that all the brothers of the Watch knew him, that he was the best of the rangers.  How is it that Benjen would not know him?  Is Mance lying?

 

 

 

 

Probably not a contradiction. Qhorin is talking for his team of rangers from the Shadow Tower, same place where Mance was stationed.

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21 minutes ago, Tucu said:

Probably not a contradiction. Qhorin is talking for his team of rangers from the Shadow Tower, same place where Mance was stationed.

Was he always at the Shadow Tower? Or was that his last post before joining the wildlings?  If LC Qorgyle took him to Winterfell wouldn't the men at Castle Black also know him?  Wouldn't Mance be known among all the rangers if he was the best of them?  It sounds like he was first ranger.   How can Benjen go out to look for him if he doesn't know him by sight?

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10 minutes ago, LynnS said:

Was he always at the Shadow Tower? Or was that his last post before joining the wildlings?  If LC Qorgyle took him to Winterfell wouldn't the men at Castle Black also know him?  Wouldn't Mance be known among all the rangers if he was the best of them?  It sounds like he was first ranger.   How can Benjen go out to look for him if he doesn't know him by sight?

Mance was just a ranger, not First Ranger. Qhorin describes him this way

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"He was the best of us," said the Halfhand, "and the worst as well. Only fools like Thoren Smallwood despise the wildlings. They are as brave as we are, Jon. As strong, as quick, as clever. But they have no discipline. They name themselves the free folk, and each one thinks himself as good as a king and wiser than a maester. Mance was the same. He never learned how to obey."

He only overlapped with Benjen for a few years so it sounds plausible that they never met.

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"By sight" implies Benjen did know Mance, just wouldn't recognize him.  How many of us would recognize GRRM if we didn't see him on TV or Internet?  Do you work with another employee you don't see face to face?  Either they never met face to face or weren't close enough.  But Benjen and Mance definitely knew about eachother.

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20 minutes ago, Brad Stark said:

"By sight" implies Benjen did know Mance, just wouldn't recognize him.  How many of us would recognize GRRM if we didn't see him on TV or Internet?  Do you work with another employee you don't see face to face?  Either they never met face to face or weren't close enough.  But Benjen and Mance definitely knew about eachother.

He could be saying that Benjen just didn't recognize him disguised as a bard, whereas Ned hadn't seen enough of Mance to recognize him in the first place.

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@LynnS, If I’m remembering correctly weren’t both Mance and Qhorin Halfhand supposed to have been stationed at the Shadow Tower? If Benjen was always at Castle Black, he might not have ever had the opportunity to serve with Mance personally. Plus I can’t imagine that Benjen was long on the wall before Mance deserted. If Jon is 14, and Benjen didn’t join the Watch until after the war, then it must have been within the past 13 years or so. Meanwhile, for how many years had Mance been King Beyond the Wall? Plus the time it would have taken him to achieve that position? I would think he would have needed to abandon not long after Benjen arrived. 

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1 hour ago, LynnS said:

Where do we get the information that Mance was not wildling born?

He seems to be half-wildling according to the information passed by wildlings to Stannis' wife

Quote

"Gerrick is the true and rightful king of the wildlings," the queen said, "descended in an unbroken male line from their great king Raymun Redbeard, whereas the usurper Mance Rayder was born of some common woman and fathered by one of your black brothers."

 

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6 minutes ago, Tucu said:

He seems to be half-wildling according to the information passed by wildlings to Stannis' wife

A common woman? Not a wildling woman?  That sounds more like a visit to Molestown than a man of the watch mixing it up with a wildling woman.  Perhaps this attack on the wildling raiders was to retrieve Mance rather than just taking a boy as a foundling from the raiders. Does that say something about the status of Mance's father?

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59 minutes ago, LynnS said:

Where do we get the information that Mance was not wildling born?

Well, we get conflicting information. Up in the Frostfangs, in the Skirling Pass, Qhorin Halfhand tells Jon that Mance was wildling born, the last survivor of a group of wildling raiders "put to the sword":

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"He liked women, Mance did, and he was not a man whose knees bent easily, that's true. But it was more than that. He loved the wild better than the Wall. It was in his blood. He was wildling born, taken as a child when some raiders were put to the sword. When he left the Shadow Tower he was only going home again."  (2.53 - JON)

But upthread,  @Black Crow pointed out that Osha seems to think Mance was not born north of the Wall. She's under the impression that Mance is "just another old black crow who flew down" from the Wall, unlike Osha herself, who "was born up there... born of the Free Folk."  Osha's comments are made to Bran, in the Winterfell godswood, in chapter 53 of AGOT:

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Mance thinks he'll fight, the brave sweet stubborn man, like the white walkers were no more than rangers, but what does he know? He can call himself King-beyond-the-Wall all he likes, but he's still just another old black crow who flew down from the Shadow Tower. He's never tasted winter. I was born up there, child, like my mother and her mother before her and her mother before her, born of the Free Folk. We remember."  (1.53, BRAN)

 

That's a great catch by BC.  To be perfectly honest... I'd either forgotten or completely missed Osha's point of emphasis there. I suppose it's been years and years since I first read AGOT - but what I remembered about Mance's background was what Qhorin told Jon. 

Actually, I do think Qhorin's report is the more complete, more reliable story. But on the face of it, what we have are two conflicting claims about Mance's background: one from Osha, and one from the Halfhand.  Definitely worth weighing the two of them... considering what the speakers know and don't know, etc.

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25 minutes ago, Tucu said:

He seems to be half-wildling according to the information passed by wildlings to Stannis' wife

Ah. Another possibility. Though for whatever reason, once upon a time, I figured Selyse had Mance confused with Craster.  :cool4:

Where do we suppose Selyse comes by her explanation?

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38 minutes ago, The Snowfyre Chorus said:

Well, we get conflicting information. Up in the Frostfangs, in the Skirling Pass, Qhorin Halfhand tells Jon that Mance was wildling born, the last survivor of a group of wildling raiders "put to the sword":

But upthread,  @Black Crow pointed out that Osha seems to think Mance was not born north of the Wall. She's under the impression that Mance is "just another old black crow who flew down" from the Wall, unlike Osha herself, who "was born up there... born of the Free Folk."  Osha's comments are made to Bran, in the Winterfell godswood, in chapter 53 of AGOT:

 

That's a great catch by BC.  To be perfectly honest... I'd either forgotten or completely missed Osha's point of emphasis there. I suppose it's been years and years since I first read AGOT - but what I remembered about Mance's background was what Qhorin told Jon. 

Actually, I do think Qhorin's report is the more complete, more reliable story. But on the face of it, what we have are two conflicting claims about Mance's background: one from Osha, and one from the Halfhand.  Definitely worth weighing the two of them... considering what the speakers know and don't know, etc.

To split some hairs; perhaps Mance's mother was stolen in a raid and her son was born north of the wall, born up there, but not of the free folk. Or it could be that Osha doesn't consider Mance a wildlng because he was brought up at the Wall; he wasn't part of the free folk until he flew down from the Wall.  Good grief.  I'm sorry I asked the question.  :D
 

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A Storm of Swords - Jon X

Open the gate and let them pass. Easy to say, but what must follow? Giants camping in the ruins of Winterfell? Cannibals in the wolfswood, chariots sweeping across the barrowlands, free folk stealing the daughters of shipwrights and silversmiths from White Harbor and fishwives off the Stony Shore? "Are you a true king?" Jon asked suddenly.

"I've never had a crown on my head or sat my arse on a bloody throne, if that's what you're asking," Mance replied. "My birth is as low as a man's can get, no septon's ever smeared my head with oils, I don't own any castles, and my queen wears furs and amber, not silk and sapphires. I am my own champion, my own fool, and my own harpist. You don't become King-beyond-the-Wall because your father was. The free folk won't follow a name, and they don't care which brother was born first. They follow fighters. When I left the Shadow Tower there were five men making noises about how they might be the stuff of kings. Tormund was one, the Magnar another. The other three I slew, when they made it plain they'd sooner fight than follow."

 

Edited by LynnS

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1 hour ago, The Snowfyre Chorus said:

Though for whatever reason, once upon a time, I figured Selyse had Mance confused with Craster.

Same opinion.  That's Craster's story.

1 hour ago, The Snowfyre Chorus said:

Where do we suppose Selyse comes by her explanation?

Nobody at all informed.  Because in the same passage we learn she thinks:

2 hours ago, Tucu said:

"Gerrick is the true and rightful king of the wildlings," the queen said, "descended in an unbroken male line from their great king Raymun Redbeard

This is not something she could have heard from someone knowledgeable.  Selyse took an idea from her own culture and mapped it onto them.

Edited by JNR

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2 hours ago, LynnS said:

A common woman? Not a wildling woman?  That sounds more like a visit to Molestown than a man of the watch mixing it up with a wildling woman.  Perhaps this attack on the wildling raiders was to retrieve Mance rather than just taking a boy as a foundling from the raiders. Does that say something about the status of Mance's father?

Keep in mind that the information was distorted as it went from the wildlings, to Queen's men to Selyse. It is quite possible that original information was wildling woman and it was distorted by Selyse.

2 hours ago, The Snowfyre Chorus said:

Ah. Another possibility. Though for whatever reason, once upon a time, I figured Selyse had Mance confused with Craster.  :cool4:

Where do we suppose Selyse comes by her explanation?

That information comes from Gerrick Kingsblood faction within the wildlings. We need to take into account that Selyse Florent marries the 3 daughters of Gerrick to her own men (including a Florent) so there is politics involved.

It seems that Mance is the product of a flow of people across The Wall that is more important than the Northern lords and the Night's Watch recognise.

Edited by Tucu

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I re-read Jamie's chapter in ADWD and noticed these two quotes from Hoster Blackwood

Quote

"Past a certain point, all the dates grow hazy and confused, and the clarity of history becomes the fog of legend"

 

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"So many years, so many wars, so many kings … you'd think someone would have made a peace."

"Someone did, my lord. Many someones. We've had a hundred peaces with the Brackens, many sealed with marriages. There's Blackwood blood in every Bracken, and Bracken blood in every Blackwood. The Old King's Peace lasted half a century. But then some fresh quarrel broke out, and the old wounds opened and began to bleed again. That's how it always happens, my father says. So long as men remember the wrongs done to their forebears, no peace will ever last. So we go on century after century, with us hating the Brackens and them hating us. My father says there will never be an end to it."

This got me thinking if the Wall, the Others and the Night's Watch were not just boogeymen to allow establishing a long lasting peace between First Men and CoTF/other old races. After thousands of years with cycles of wars, peaces and pacts, did the greenseers/weirnet find a way to break the pattern?

The Starks and the NW were established to cull the human population north of the Wall every few decades to ensure the viability of the old races. With the Starks suffering a heavy hit between Robert's rebellion and the Wot5K, a new plan to cull the wildlings and restore the Starks is being executed.

Edited by Tucu

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I think that the crucial point in looking for Mance's true origin is that the two statements are not incompatible.

Mance explained or rather excused his wild behaviour by playing up the northern connection. Osha on the other hand who was the real thing recognised he was a fake.

Consider the story about him being taken from a band of Wildling raiders - why was he with them? 

Was he a very junior member of the raiding party, and if so why wasn't he killed along with the rest? 

Or was he a captive being taken north, or my favourite theory based on the assumed age of Mance, is that he was a fugitive, an unknown Blackfyre or someone connected with the Blackfyres, being taken north to safety after Maelys got his.

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14 hours ago, Black Crow said:

I think that the crucial point in looking for Mance's true origin is that the two statements are not incompatible.

Mance explained or rather excused his wild behaviour by playing up the northern connection. Osha on the other hand who was the real thing recognised he was a fake.

Consider the story about him being taken from a band of Wildling raiders - why was he with them? 

Was he a very junior member of the raiding party, and if so why wasn't he killed along with the rest? 

Or was he a captive being taken north, or my favourite theory based on the assumed age of Mance, is that he was a fugitive, an unknown Blackfyre or someone connected with the Blackfyres, being taken north to safety after Maelys got his.

Yes, exactly,  Why was he with them and why wasn't he killed? I'm not sure about him being a Blackfyre given his brown hair and eyes; but I do wonder if he was the son of someone of status in the Night's Watch and if the ranging was more about retrieving him from the Wildlings rather than some chance event.  Brynden Rivers comes to mind.

Edited by LynnS

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6 hours ago, LynnS said:

Yes, exactly,  Why was he with them and why wasn't he killed? I'm not sure about him being a Blackfyre given his brown hair and eyes; 

True, but on the other hand it would explain the significance of the red and black cloak and why he was so touchy about it. Was he told his true identity by the Woods Witch, and is that why everything changed afterwards?

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1 hour ago, Black Crow said:

True, but on the other hand it would explain the significance of the red and black cloak and why he was so touchy about it. Was he told his true identity by the Woods Witch, and is that why everything changed afterwards?

Or he dreamed a dream while he was recovering from his injuries? 

Quote

A Storm of Swords - Jon I

"A cloak?"

"The black wool cloak of a Sworn Brother of the Night's Watch," said the King-beyond-the-Wall. "One day on a ranging we brought down a fine big elk. We were skinning it when the smell of blood drew a shadow-cat out of its lair. I drove it off, but not before it shredded my cloak to ribbons. Do you see? Here, here, and here?" He chuckled. "It shredded my arm and back as well, and I bled worse than the elk. My brothers feared I might die before they got me back to Maester Mullin at the Shadow Tower, so they carried me to a wildling village where we knew an old wisewoman did some healing. She was dead, as it happened, but her daughter saw to me. Cleaned my wounds, sewed me up, and fed me porridge and potions until I was strong enough to ride again.

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A Dance with Dragons - Jon XIII

"With the little monster, like as not. He's taken a liking to one o' them milkmaids, I hear."

He has taken a liking to Val. Her sister was a queen, why not her? Tormund had once thought to make himself the King-Beyond-the-Wall, before Mance had bested him. Toregg the Tall might well be dreaming the same dream. Better him than Gerrick Kingsblood. "Let them be," said Jon. "I can speak with Toregg later." He glanced up past the King's Tower. The Wall was a dull white, the sky above it whiter. A snow sky. "Just pray we do not get another storm."

I'd say his colors are actually white, black and red and he wears a raven helm.

Quote

A Storm of Swords - Jon I

There was no doubting which tent was the king's. It was thrice the size of the next largest he'd seen, and he could hear music drifting from within. Like many of the lesser tents it was made of sewn hides with the fur still on, but Mance Rayder's hides were the shaggy white pelts of snow bears. The peaked roof was crowned with a huge set of antlers from one of the giant elks that had once roamed freely throughout the Seven Kingdoms, in the times of the First Men.

That calls to mind two sigils associated with Bloodraven:  the white dragon on a black field breathing red fire and the weirwood and raven sigil of House Blackwood.   

 

Edited by LynnS

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On ‎1‎/‎11‎/‎2018 at 0:57 PM, Black Crow said:

True, but on the other hand it would explain the significance of the red and black cloak and why he was so touchy about it. Was he told his true identity by the Woods Witch, and is that why everything changed afterwards?

House Blackwood's primary colors are a red background with black crows and a white weirwood.  But my favorite theory is that the black cloak with three red patches is the inverse of House Qorgyle's three black scorpions on a red field.  Which would make sense if Mance was the bastard son of Lord Commander Qorgyle.  And it appears the former lord commander did take an interest in Mance, since it was Mance that he took with him to Winterfell in his meeting with House Stark.

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