Jump to content
Lollygag

Is Craster a Casterly? - Now with plot-relevance!

Recommended Posts

1 hour ago, AlaskanSandman said:

Blue was not the ancient association for the sea or the ocean. Blue didn't even come into term's till after. The Iliad and the Odyssey never once calls the waters blue. Instead green or black. 

 

So the association of Green to Garth and the Merling King actually makes sense.

Great video.

I always knew that blue was nearly always the last major color to get a name in most cultures and that it was the rarest pigment until fairly recently but never knew how this could be with the sky and water looking blue so often til this video.

The association of blue with green in ancient times makes particular sense when you consider that blue-green is by far the most controversial and disputable color over red-orange, orange-yellow, yellow-green, blue-violet and red-violet. Most of these colors will fit more cleanly into one color or the other depending on the mixture, but not blue-green. It has a large range of shades which can't be called blue or green.

I'm never sure what knowledge to ascribe to GRRM. Sometimes I feel like he's treated as all-knowing on this board. If GRRM does know this and applied it to his books, then that implies that the Manderly sigil is extremely old and I was wondering how old it was. Also has very interesting implications for the blue rose and the blue eyes of death. Blue flowers being among the rarest flowers, the blue rose indicates that GRRM does know this and might be using blue in this way in the series. The Others' armor and the colors of the Wall also sound somewhat like the above description of the use of color in rl ancient times.

Share this post


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

Great video.

I always knew that blue was nearly always the last major color to get a name in most cultures and that it was the rarest pigment until fairly recently but never knew how this could be with the sky and water looking blue so often til this video.

The association of blue with green in ancient times makes particular sense when you consider that blue-green is by far the most controversial and disputable color over red-orange, orange-yellow, yellow-green, blue-violet and red-violet. Most of these colors will fit more cleanly into one color or the other depending on the mixture, but not blue-green. It has a large range of shades which can't be called blue or green.

I'm never sure what knowledge to ascribe to GRRM. Sometimes I feel like he's treated as all-knowing on this board. If GRRM does know this and applied it to his books, then that implies that the Manderly sigil is extremely old and I was wondering how old it was. Also has very interesting implications for the blue rose and the blue eyes of death. Blue flowers being among the rarest flowers, the blue rose indicates that GRRM does know this and might be using blue in this way in the series. The Others' armor and the colors of the Wall also sound somewhat like the above description of the use of color in rl ancient times.

Hahah i understand what you mean and though im never sure either, i assume he's fairly intelligent. I know of most of his inspirations before having gotten into any theory forum stuff, though, i have the added use of the internet and youtube in my time. George did not. Though im sure he could read them all the same.

Jesus-the Devil- The star of the morning- the morning star - Azor Ahai.

There a dragon in the bible too. 

Abraham father of many faiths, and Moses and the flood pop up.

Deucalion i believe is the Greek version.

Norse Mythology with Fire, Ice, and Earth Giants pops up.

Mixes of Dragon mythology pops up

Atlantis, Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table. 

The Crusades

Henry VIII and the twins in the tower

Rome, European history or English history.

American colonization and the natives

Hadrian's wall

I can keep going, and these are all just ones i know of from before reading his books. 

I know about steel forging and Iron and Carbon making steel and that trees can be used for carbon so im sure he's equally aware of that common knowledge. 

Theres so much more that i can bring up to that i know, and that if i know. George should definitely know, given he's much more into literature than i am, and has expressed being a big fan of history. I assume he's probably smarter, if not equally as intelligent. 

What i find more impressive than his understanding of history and myth, is his application of it into a compelling narrative and myth of his own. Bridging all these things that he knows. 

There are things though he never touches upon though that may show his lack of knowledge. Like language for one. Martin makes no attempt at constructing a language. Neither written or spoken. Simply coming up with some names with a sense of understanding of phonetics and the spelling of these sounds by diffing cultures adapting an alphabet. Take Dayne versus Daenerys. Ay instead of Ae. Ae being something used to identify Valyrian ancestry.

Martin makes mention of the 7 and the Rainbow guard which shows awareness of the 7 colors of the rainbow. Yet fails to tie in music into his myth. Given there are 7 notes to 7 colors. Many in history have made links between color and sound. 

He didn't touch calendars as Tolkien did either. Or a creation myth. 

So for all the things he included, there is things he never tried. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
39 minutes ago, Lollygag said:

sic

All that being said. House Manderly's sigil is likely a call back to Garth the Green whom all the houses of the Reach claim descent from. The fact that he is displayed as a Merling is due to who he is and where he comes from. He is ancestor to the Realm of the Fisher Queens, so this makes sense. Specially given the old belief in a sea god and sky god shared by the Iron Born, the Storm landers, and the peoples of the Three Sisters.

Garth took to land only later. This is represented by House Hoare who gave up their strength at sea to rule from Harrenhal as a Land power around the God's Eye. The Ancient seat of the First King, The Green King of the God's Eye, Garth the Green. Father to the Grey King and Durran God's Grief. Which is why both cultures war over the river lands.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Also if i was Martin, i would have had an upside down weirwood tree. Uprooted and replanted upside down. This is a Celtic belief as they believed that Heaven was in the Earth. I think it would have been a nice inclusion to the CotF.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@Lollygag

You have put together a superb puzzle of parallels. I could figure out all the allusions to cannibalism and bears for Craster, but the "shit" allusions eluded answers so far. I knew it was important, because Edd points out how Craster's hovel is built on "shit". If Edd emphasizes something, it's important and a clue imo. And I think you may have found the parallel.

I also like how you point out there's something funy about the disappearance of the Casterlys and specifically the "timing" of it. That is indeed suspicious, and it does suggest that it's a "fallen" family, cast out. Combined with the gold - you almost have this typical motif of it being a reward (a rewarded hoard), but gold corrupts, leading to "gold fever" and ultimately blood betrayal, and that's when the gold rejects you. 

There are quite some parallels between Tywin and Craster when it comes to arrogance and treasonous double talk. Not to mention both of them trying to deal with their enemies through breaking of guest right. Craster attacks a man seated at his table with the gifted axe. When Mormont insists they broke guest right before he gets killed himself, I maintain Mormont's completely oblivious to the fact that Craster himself blatantly broke guest right first and initially the mutineers responded in self-defense.

Craster compares to the Goat in greediness, to Tywin in arrogance, to Roose in pretending to be someone when he's not (stealing someone's skin and status).

The weirwood at Casterly Rock is said to be a twisted thing, right? There's no weirwood whatsoever at Craster's though. He's making sure that the CotF and greenseers cannot watch him via the weirnet. Doesn't mean he cannot be watched: he can through the eyes of ravens and such, but not via the weirnet. So, to link him to a family who may have been outcasts due to the pact between FM and CotF and setting up Green Men at a grove of weirwood trees on the Isle at the Gods Eye is not farfetched to me at all. You have laid out literary parallels and allusions and ties between both, while there are none for the "I want an evil Stark in the books, so Craster is a Stark, hehehehehe," throw-away proposal. 

For those who argue: but the wildlings do not care about "southron" status.

  • Craster is not your standard, typical wildling. No weirwood at his hovel. He abuses guest right and commits incest with his own daughters. Most wildlings despise Craster because he basically spits in the face of First Men customs. He's the first "wildling" we truly meet extensively, but he's the pariah amongst wildlings.
  • Secondly, while wildlings do not "kneel" (until they do) to a lord, they do have idolation of heroes and certainly know of some houses south of the Wall, and some house names mean something to them (even if they see a Stark as an enemy, it's an enemy name they respect). Wildlings also keep "styles" and use them for the more prominent leaders amonst them, and it includes "my forefather was King Beyond the Wall y." So, Craster's ancestors might not have gone as far as Craster went, but definitely could go by "your forefather was this or that hero from house x"

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 11/20/2017 at 6:04 AM, sweetsunray said:

I also like how you point out there's something funy about the disappearance of the Casterlys and specifically the "timing" of it. That is indeed suspicious, and it does suggest that it's a "fallen" family, cast out. Combined with the gold - you almost have this typical motif of it being a reward (a rewarded hoard), but gold corrupts, leading to "gold fever" and ultimately blood betrayal, and that's when the gold rejects you. 

Great observation. Your post resulted in three face-palms on my part. The first:

The text says that the old gods rewarded the Casterlys for their mercy in saving the cubs, but it fits more if the reward was for the sacrifice of the adult lion. Jaime's dream where there's things in the water which want him and his family says that the caverns of Casterly Rock are Jaime's place but that it was not the rest of the family's place seems says to me that Jaime is to be a sacrifice/blood betrayal of some sort. It can't mean that Lord of Casterly Rock was Jaime's place since Tywin was also in the dream saying this. I'm now wondering if the bolded might not end up being one of the major themes of the series which doesn't really reach its full prominence until the yet-to-be-published books. That would explain LF being associated with rocks, sheep, and shit (what is he sacrificing?)

Also reminds me of LotR. There was something Gollum-ish about how the Casterlys moved into the caves. Craster wears a ring around his wrist, but it's never described as a bracelet. Craster and the Lannisters seem to also have Gollum's two-faced aspect as well.

On 11/20/2017 at 6:04 AM, sweetsunray said:

There are quite some parallels between Tywin and Craster when it comes to arrogance and treasonous double talk. Not to mention both of them trying to deal with their enemies through breaking of guest right. Craster attacks a man seated at his table with the gifted axe. When Mormont insists they broke guest right before he gets killed himself, I maintain Mormont's completely oblivious to the fact that Craster himself blatantly broke guest right first and initially the mutineers responded in self-defense.

This was my second face-palm. I didn't quite make the connection between Craster's and Tywin's breaking of guest right. I thought the same about Mormont's claim that the NW broke guest right here. Seems like there's something significant about this, but nothing stands out at the moment. Think I'll take a closer look at the Red Wedding in comparison to this.

On 11/20/2017 at 6:04 AM, sweetsunray said:

Craster compares to the Goat in greediness, to Tywin in arrogance, to Roose in pretending to be someone when he's not (stealing someone's skin and status).

My third face palm. Craster was repeated described as wearing sheep skin but I didn't put it together. Qyburn's comment about the "grey sheep" really stands out here. It also makes me think of the Boltons who also wear wolf skins and acquire the Starks' status.

On 11/20/2017 at 6:04 AM, sweetsunray said:

The weirwood at Casterly Rock is said to be a twisted thing, right? There's no weirwood whatsoever at Craster's though. He's making sure that the CotF and greenseers cannot watch him via the weirnet. Doesn't mean he cannot be watched: he can through the eyes of ravens and such, but not via the weirnet. So, to link him to a family who may have been outcasts due to the pact between FM and CotF and setting up Green Men at a grove of weirwood trees on the Isle at the Gods Eye is not farfetched to me at all.

I did notice the absence of weirwoods, but interestingly, there are a lot of ironwoods about. When Gared was executed, Ned & Co met at an ironwood stump which indicated that this ironwood stump may be the routine place where such executions are carried out. Interesting that it's not a weirwood. Anyhow, this ironwood stump has seen a lot of blood if it's the typical execution spot and blood has a lot of iron...

Share this post


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

The text says that the old gods rewarded the Casterlys for their mercy in saving the cubs, but it fits more if the reward was for the sacrifice of the adult lion. Jaime's dream where there's things in the water which want him and his family says that the caverns of Casterly Rock are Jaime's place but that it was not the rest of the family's place seems says to me that Jaime is to be a sacrifice/blood betrayal of some sort. It can't mean that Lord of Casterly Rock was Jaime's place since Tywin was also in the dream saying this. I'm now wondering if the bolded might not end up being one of the major themes of the series which doesn't really reach its full prominence until the yet-to-be-published books. That would explain LF being associated with rocks, sheep, and shit (what is he sacrificing?)

Also reminds me of LotR. There was something Gollum-ish about how the Casterlys moved into the caves. Craster wears a ring around his wrist, but it's never described as a bracelet. Craster and the Lannisters seem to also have Gollum's two-faced aspect as well.

Which of course derives of the cursed Gold of the NIbelungen. Tolkien borrowed the "golden ring" motif of the Nibelungen hoard (as well as Smaug on his stolen hoard in the Hobbit), but as a "gold mine" you have the "hoard" aspect.

For those unfamiliar with it: The Nibelungenlied is most famously rewritten into Operas by Wagner. It's actually a Northern Saga, that has been retold in several versions, including in the Germania area, and eventually set in a historical context of the kingdom of Burgandy and Saxons and the Huns. At the heart of the deadly drama is a gold hoard/treasure of a people called the Nibelungen. The Nibelungen are a people of mist and shadow (ghostly, ethereal). And this giant hoard of golden treasure belonged to them, including a ring. The wearer of the ring is the "owner" of the hoard. Only the Nibelungen as a group can safely own it. Anyone who is not a Nibelung who keeps the hoard or takes something from it for themselves will eventually find their death.

For example, one of the Nibelungs was a dwarf and he wanted the hoard for himself. The Nibelungs are immortals, but they cast this dwarf out and made him mortal. He plots to have other people fetch the hoard for him (sort of like Jafar tries to use Aladin). His actions caused a dragon Fafnir to steal the hoard. Fafnir terrorizes the kingdom of Burgandy and a hero volunteers to liberate Burgandy from the dragon's terror. This is Siegfried/Sigurd (depending on the versions and iterations). He manages to get into the dragon lair and kill Fafnir with his magical sword. He used the dragon blood to drench himself to protect himself from any future harm (a leaf drops onto his back and the dragon blood never touched that area, so he's vulnerable there), and finds the hoard. The NIbelungen appear, thank him for slaying the dragon and ask him to return the hoard back to them, warning him not to take anything from the hoard, because if he does it will invoke a curse onto him. He completely ignores their advice, takes the ring and thus takes ownership of the hoard, has the hoard moved and stowed away in the castle of the king of Burgandy. Everybody recognizes it's Siegfried's treasure, but the king of Burgandy and his sister want to keep the treasure in Burgandy and have Siegfried become an ally through marriage.

His heart is pledged already to Brunhilde/Gudrun (shieldmaiden/queen of Iceland/former Valkyrie turned human), but through a magical potion Kriemhilde (the sister of the kng of Burgundy) makes Siegfried fall in love with her and forget the woman he loved. Meanwhile the king of Burgandy wants to wed Brunhilde/Gudrun himself. There's only one problem: she set a tough test, knowing that only Siegfried can succeed in it. The king has Siegfried wear a disguise (so it appears to Brunhilde that Siegfried looks like the King of Burgundy) and succeed in the test. This is how Brunhilde is tricked into marrying the king of Burgundy, and how Siegfried was tricked into marrying the king's sister - for the gold and because both royals try to use deception to get what they want without ever considering the feelings , promises and desires of the other two. More, they're both so arrogant and entitled about it that they easily betray their deception. When Brunhilde learns how Siegfried deceived and betrayed her, she has her husband vow to have him killed. But she then learns how Siegfried was tricked himself with a magical potion and she commits suicide on his pyre. Kriemhilde ends up wedding Atilla the Hun and uses him to avenge the murder of Siegfried (and her children) by warring her brother.

Anyway: the Nibelungen were right...the gold is cursed. And Kriemhilde and her brother initially seem decent Christians, but are completely without shame and honor, very selfish beings...not unlike the Lannisters. I certainly think you could argue that the Casterlys have something akin to the Nibelungen (including disappearing), and the Lannisters to the ambitious Burgandy royals.

In the Nibelungenlied version of Wagner there's also another advising character who faithfully "serves" Burgundy - Hagan. He's the plotter, giving Kriemhilde the potion, and helping the king into finding the arguments to convince Siegfried into playing along with the deception of Burnhilde. I think LF and Hagan have some similiarties too.

1 hour ago, Lollygag said:

This was my second face-palm. I didn't quite make the connection between Craster's and Tywin's breaking of guest right. I thought the same about Mormont's claim that the NW broke guest right here. Seems like there's something significant about this, but nothing stands out at the moment. Think I'll take a closer look at the Red Wedding in comparison to this.

I wrote an essay about Craster and how much he compares to the claims of evil like the Blood Emperor a year ago: https://sweeticeandfiresunray.com/2016/08/30/crasters-black-blooded-curse/

it's more from the angle of bears and rams (and a bear curse), suggesting an answer to what happened at the very least to Benjen's fellow brothers and how Craster may be involved with that, the many hints of how he practices cannibalism, and also provides the evidence that Craster never established guest right per custom at all, except once, and that one time he did do everything that set up guest right, he was hte first to break it.

1 hour ago, Lollygag said:

I did notice the absence of weirwoods, but interestingly, there are a lot of ironwoods about. [...] and blood has a lot of iron...

Now that is indeed very interesting.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

1 hour ago, Lollygag said:

I did notice the absence of weirwoods, but interestingly, there are a lot of ironwoods about. When Gared was executed, Ned & Co met at an ironwood stump which indicated that this ironwood stump may be the routine place where such executions are carried out. Interesting that it's not a weirwood. Anyhow, this ironwood stump has seen a lot of blood if it's the typical execution spot and blood has a lot of iron...

Yes :agree:

Interestingly enough, yesterday while in the car I decided to put AGOT on again to try and listen for something in particular when lo and behold I did notice how many ironwoods were mentioned that I had not really noticed before.

This is very interesting because the Boltons are to the Starks as the Yronwoods are to the historic Nymeria/Martell family of Dorne... and that saga is being played out already again in the north. History repeats, just with a twist! ;)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Regarding the ax given by Mormont to Craster - does it help to consider the ax Asha Greyjoy calls for Rolfe to throw to her at the feast at Pyke? She calls the ax her husband and the dirk (knife) her sweet suckling babe. Craster is killed by a guy named Dirk. (If the gifted ax is also Craster's "lord husband," maybe his murder by Dirk represents the revenge of his many sons - Craster is killed by a "sweet, suckling babe". Of course, Tywin will also be killed by his youngest son. Does Shae represent Gilly?)

The gate to Craster's Keep unites the ram and the bear:

On the southwest, he found an open gate flanked by a pair of animal skulls on high poles: a bear to one side, a ram to the other. (ACoK, Jon III)

It's almost like a shared coat of arms. Are Mormont and Craster two parts of a whole that needed to be reunited? Is there a symbolic marriage when Mormont gives Craster the ax? If so, is there a comparable symbolic "wedding" for Tywin?

I don't think we are supposed to compare Mormont to Joanna Lannister, but there are some odd weapon / wedding gift references in connection with Tywin: Robert makes Ser Ilyn the King's Justice as a wedding gift for Tywin; Gerion Lannister gave Robert a dagger as a wedding gift (and Tywin recommends that Tyrion go get it). Of course, Tywin also gives Joffrey a sword as a wedding gift.

Speaking of Ser Ilyn, Craster tells a story about cutting the tongue out of a messenger sent by Mance. I believe the tongue is still nailed to the wall in Craster's keep. In that detail, Craster is more like Aerys, I suppose, and Mance more like Tywin.

Maybe marriage is the wrong analogy for the bond between Craster and Mormont. Maybe they are linked by the gifted ax the way that Tywin is linked to Robert when Cersei marries Robert. Arya gives an ax to Jaqen that allows him to escape Yoren's caged wagon during the attack by Amory Lorch. You could say that Arya and Jaqen bond at that point, as Jaqen tells her that she can choose three deaths to offer to the gods. Or maybe the bond occurs when he gives her a weapon - the iron coin. Ramsay Snow and Theon / Reek develop a strange bond when Ramsay tortures Theon - not exactly the same thing as giving Theon a weapon, although that will happen, too, when he sends Theon to persuade the Ironmen to surrender at Deepwood Motte. A tie to this basket of symbols might be the finger dance that is underway when Asha calls for Rolfe to throw her the ax - Ramsay plays his own version of the finger dance with Theon. Jon Snow gives obsidian weapons to his close friends in the Night's Watch. We hear about his distribution of weapons through a Sam POV while Grenn uses an ax to split wood.

We know that some historic Lord Stark awarded Bear Island to the Mormont family. Were the Mormonts also displaced from somewhere, as were the Casterlys and the Manderlys? When Mormont joins the Night's Watch, he leaves behind a large family of women - his sister and nieces. Is this comparable to Craster's sister wives, left behind at his compound after he is murdered?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, Seams said:

It's almost like a shared coat of arms. Are Mormont and Craster two parts of a whole that needed to be reunited? Is there a symbolic marriage when Mormont gives Craster the ax? If so, is there a comparable symbolic "wedding" for Tywin?

If you're looking for the other part of the couple for Tywin Lannister, I would say lord Stark : 

- the link with the wolf's blood tends to hide us strong links with other "blood", and the bear is one of them. For exemple, when she has built the snow Winterfell, Sansa appears like a bear cub; same metaphore of the bear when she goes down to the Gates of the moon (Alayne II AFFC). Another exemple during the Benjen Jon and Tyrion's travel to the Wall : 

Quote

He took a small revenge in the matter of his riding fur, a tattered bearskin, old and musty-smelling. Stark had offered it to him in an excess of Night's Watch gallantry, no doubt expecting him to graciously decline. Tyrion had accepted with a smile. He had brought his warmest clothing with him when they rode out of Winterfell, and soon discovered that it was nowhere near warm enough. It was cold up here, and growing colder. The nights were well below freezing now, and when the wind blew it was like a knife cutting right through his warmest woolens. By now Stark was no doubt regretting his chivalrous impulse. Perhaps he had learned a lesson. The Lannisters never declined, graciously or otherwise. The Lannisters took what was offered.(Tyrion II AGOT)

I don't know if Benjen is really regretting something or if Tyrion just likes to imagine that's the case, but Lannister appears hera clearly as greedy and full of an envy well hidden beyond their pride.

- In Tywin's case, Ice takes the place of Mormont's personnal axe : the ax isn't really a gift but an extortion from Craster, the false friend of the Watch (thanks to @sweetsunray for her brilliant essay about the bear), who gives informations that Qhorin Halfhand obtains in another way, and that conduct the Watch to the trap of the Fist. 

- Eddard Stark appears also as the bear "enslaved" and "hurt" by the goat Littlefinger, if you consider LF's castle at the Fingers as built on sheep's dung (LF bears also his little pointy barb like a goat): 

Quote

 

"As short a time as possible, Bryen, have no fear. Is the place habitable just now, would you say?"
"If we knew you was coming we would have laid down fresh rushes, m'lord," said the crone. "There's a dung fire burning."
"Nothing says home like the smell of burning dung."Petyr turned to Sansa. "Grisel was my wet nurse, but she keeps my castle now. "
(...)
"And very well, I'm sure. No one has made off with any of my rocks or sheep pellets, I see that plainly." Petyr gestured toward the fat woman. "Kella minds my vast herds. How many sheep do I have at present, Kella?"
(...)
 A handful of sheep were wandering about the base of the flint tower, grazing on the thin grass that grew between the sheepfold and thatched stable. Sansa had to step carefully; there were pellets everywhere. (Sansa VI ASOS)

 

 

 

7 hours ago, Seams said:

Regarding the ax given by Mormont to Craster - does it help to consider the ax Asha Greyjoy calls for Rolfe to throw to her at the feast at Pyke? She calls the ax her husband and the dirk (knife) her sweet suckling babe. Craster is killed by a guy named Dirk. (If the gifted ax is also Craster's "lord husband," maybe his murder by Dirk represents the revenge of his many sons - Craster is killed by a "sweet, suckling babe". Of course, Tywin will also be killed by his youngest son.

Great catch, I like it !

But to answer to @Lollygag purpose, if the parallelisms between Tywin and Craster seems for me obvious (and very well exposed here), I'm not convinced by the conclusion "Craster is a Casterly" = LF has also a castle built on a hill of dung/sheep's pellet (and he provoques Eddard/the bear's death before he steals his daughter) but we won't theorize about him as hidden heir of Lann nor the Casterly). Imo, the Craster's and Tywin's stuff are both variations about one part of the Stark's untold story (like Lann the clever and the Casterly also are)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
8 hours ago, Seams said:

Is there a symbolic marriage when Mormont gives Craster the ax?

The marriage is between Sam and Gilly: Gilly the girl called after a flower, who's stolen by Sam (who also donned Mormont's bearskin as Mormont dies). The mutiny ends with a bear being killed (Jeor) and a stand-in bear (Sam) rescuing/stealing/wedding the "girl".

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 11/25/2017 at 7:55 PM, sweetsunray said:

Which of course derives of the cursed Gold of the NIbelungen. Tolkien borrowed the "golden ring" motif of the Nibelungen hoard (as well as Smaug on his stolen hoard in the Hobbit), but as a "gold mine" you have the "hoard" aspect.

For those unfamiliar with it: The Nibelungenlied is most famously rewritten into Operas by Wagner. It's actually a Northern Saga, that has been retold in several versions, including in the Germania area, and eventually set in a historical context of the kingdom of Burgandy and Saxons and the Huns. At the heart of the deadly drama is a gold hoard/treasure of a people called the Nibelungen. The Nibelungen are a people of mist and shadow (ghostly, ethereal). And this giant hoard of golden treasure belonged to them, including a ring. The wearer of the ring is the "owner" of the hoard. Only the Nibelungen as a group can safely own it. Anyone who is not a Nibelung who keeps the hoard or takes something from it for themselves will eventually find their death.

For example, one of the Nibelungs was a dwarf and he wanted the hoard for himself. The Nibelungs are immortals, but they cast this dwarf out and made him mortal. He plots to have other people fetch the hoard for him (sort of like Jafar tries to use Aladin). His actions caused a dragon Fafnir to steal the hoard. Fafnir terrorizes the kingdom of Burgandy and a hero volunteers to liberate Burgandy from the dragon's terror. This is Siegfried/Sigurd (depending on the versions and iterations). He manages to get into the dragon lair and kill Fafnir with his magical sword. He used the dragon blood to drench himself to protect himself from any future harm (a leaf drops onto his back and the dragon blood never touched that area, so he's vulnerable there), and finds the hoard. The NIbelungen appear, thank him for slaying the dragon and ask him to return the hoard back to them, warning him not to take anything from the hoard, because if he does it will invoke a curse onto him. He completely ignores their advice, takes the ring and thus takes ownership of the hoard, has the hoard moved and stowed away in the castle of the king of Burgandy. Everybody recognizes it's Siegfried's treasure, but the king of Burgandy and his sister want to keep the treasure in Burgandy and have Siegfried become an ally through marriage.

His heart is pledged already to Brunhilde/Gudrun (shieldmaiden/queen of Iceland/former Valkyrie turned human), but through a magical potion Kriemhilde (the sister of the kng of Burgundy) makes Siegfried fall in love with her and forget the woman he loved. Meanwhile the king of Burgandy wants to wed Brunhilde/Gudrun himself. There's only one problem: she set a tough test, knowing that only Siegfried can succeed in it. The king has Siegfried wear a disguise (so it appears to Brunhilde that Siegfried looks like the King of Burgundy) and succeed in the test. This is how Brunhilde is tricked into marrying the king of Burgundy, and how Siegfried was tricked into marrying the king's sister - for the gold and because both royals try to use deception to get what they want without ever considering the feelings , promises and desires of the other two. More, they're both so arrogant and entitled about it that they easily betray their deception. When Brunhilde learns how Siegfried deceived and betrayed her, she has her husband vow to have him killed. But she then learns how Siegfried was tricked himself with a magical potion and she commits suicide on his pyre. Kriemhilde ends up wedding Atilla the Hun and uses him to avenge the murder of Siegfried (and her children) by warring her brother.

Anyway: the Nibelungen were right...the gold is cursed. And Kriemhilde and her brother initially seem decent Christians, but are completely without shame and honor, very selfish beings...not unlike the Lannisters. I certainly think you could argue that the Casterlys have something akin to the Nibelungen (including disappearing), and the Lannisters to the ambitious Burgandy royals.

In the Nibelungenlied version of Wagner there's also another advising character who faithfully "serves" Burgundy - Hagan. He's the plotter, giving Kriemhilde the potion, and helping the king into finding the arguments to convince Siegfried into playing along with the deception of Burnhilde. I think LF and Hagan have some similiarties too.

Thanks so much for this! I ordered a copy and am waiting for it now. Lots available so hoping I made a good choice.

I also see certain parallels to the later political part of the story between the Lannisters and Ellyn Reyne and her family who figure very prominently in the TWOIAF, so much so that along with the Rains of Castamere, I’ve come to believe the Reynes have a future role to play in the series. Ellyn Reyne was rumored to be a witch and she sounds a great deal like Kriemhilde, even trying to seduce Tytos away from his love Jeyne.

Cersei is clearly an Ellyn parallel and like Cersei, Ellyn had two brothers whom she dominated. My current (tinfoil) theory is that Maggy the Frog may be Ellyn Reyne herself who was rumored to practice black magic, or perhaps the missing Reynes married Maggy’s children. Ellyn is reported to have died in Tywin’s raid, but I can see possibilities for loopholes here. Can’t prove that any Reynes married into the Spicers, but I haven’t been able to disprove it either. Just too many holes either way. I'm expecting The Nibelungenlied may give me some ideas on this.

The Spicers seem to have the same naming pattern as the Reynes (Reynard Reyne/Reynald Westerling, Roger Reyne/Rolph Westerling, Cyrelle Reyne Tarbeck/Sybell Spicer, Rohanne Reyne Tarbeck/Rollam Westerling, Ellyn Reyne/Eleyna Westerling). Especially interesting idea given that Rolph Spicer is the new Lord of Castamere.  There was also a Robb Reyne some time back, and if the Westerlings are Reynes, then they would be Robb Stark’s inlaws. This would also make the Rains of Castamere playing at the Red Wedding accidently a very appropriate choice on Tywin’s part, or maybe not. Rethinking Tywin a lot lately.

The World of Ice and Fire - The Westerlands: House Lannister Under the Dragons

The loss of the second of his "glorious twins" might well have been expected to break their grieving father, Lord Gerold. But curiously, the opposite seemed to be the case. As Ser Tion's body was laid to rest within Casterly Rock, Gerold the Golden roused himself and took firm hold of the westerlands once more, intent on doing all he could to prepare his thirdborn son, the weak-willed and unpromising boy Tytos, to succeed him.

The "Reign of the Reynes" was at an end. Lady Ellyn's brothers soon departed Casterly Rock for Castamere, accompanied by many of the other Reynes.

Lady Ellyn remained, but her influence dwindled, while that of Lady Jeyne grew. Soon, the rivalry between Ser Tion's widow and Tytos's wife became truly ugly, if the rumors set down by Maester Beldon can be believed. Beldon tells us that in 239 AC, Ellyn Reyne was accused of bedding Tytos Lannister, urging him to set aside his wife and marry her instead. However, young Tytos (then nineteen) found his brother's widow so intimidating that he was unable to perform. Humiliated, he ran back to his wife to confess and beg her forgiveness.

Lady Jeyne was willing to pardon her young husband but was less forgiving of her goodsister, and did not hesitate to inform Lord Gerold of the incident. Furious, his lordship resolved to rid Casterly Rock of Ellyn Reyne for good and all by finding her a new husband. Ravens flew, and a hasty match was made. Within the fortnight, Ellyn Reyne was wed to Walderan Tarbeck, Lord of Tarbeck Hall, the florid fifty-five-year-old widowed lord of an ancient, honorable, but impoverished house.

There seems to a firm connection between greed and revenge in the series with certain characters. Perhaps Craster is motivated by revenge? Perhaps his ring around his wrist means he is the true owner of the Casterly gold? I read your essay linked above and it does seem like Craster was indeed running low on food at the onset of winter which makes me wonder just what his plan was.

On 11/25/2017 at 7:55 PM, sweetsunray said:

I wrote an essay about Craster and how much he compares to the claims of evil like the Blood Emperor a year ago: https://sweeticeandfiresunray.com/2016/08/30/crasters-black-blooded-curse/

it's more from the angle of bears and rams (and a bear curse), suggesting an answer to what happened at the very least to Benjen's fellow brothers and how Craster may be involved with that, the many hints of how he practices cannibalism, and also provides the evidence that Craster never established guest right per custom at all, except once, and that one time he did do everything that set up guest right, he was hte first to break it.

Referencing your link above.

 

I did also see some lion imagery around Craster. He has a mane of hair, wears gold, and roars, though roaring can be linked to bears, as well. I don’t think Craster has Lannister blood, so any link between lions and Craster would be a story-line connection only, not a hint at secret-Lannisterdom especially given the history between the Casterlys and Lannisters.

I did read your background on bears as well (https://sweeticeandfiresunray.com/bears-and-maidens/ ). It seems that in recent times, the lion has replaced the bear in pop culture as the King of Beasts and Lord of the Jungle so there may be a link between bears and lions in the series. Perhaps they feud? Craster the bear has been replaced by the lion and in turn Craster the bear tries to act like a lion? The bear hunt rituals recall the Casterlys hunting of the lions and hunting in general, and while the bear gets a bride, in ASOIAF, the lion also supposedly gets a bride of a Casterly daughter. Perhaps there is a play on the lion replacing the bear as the king of beasts in the collective mind of popular culture.

The story where a bear was killed in his den and then his spirit was kept prisoner until he freed his spirit to exact his revenge also reminds me of the Baneforts.

http://www.georgerrmartin.com/world-of-ice-and-fire-sample/

Lann the Clever never called himself a king, as best we know, though some tales told centuries later have conferred that style on him posthumously.  The first true Lannister king we know of is Loreon Lannister, also known as Loreon the Lion (a number of Lannisters through the centuries have been dubbed ‘the Lion’ or ‘the Golden,’ for understandable reasons), who made the Reynes of Castamere his vassals by wedding a daughter of that House, and defeated the Hooded King, Morgon Banefort, and his thralls in a war that lasted twenty years.

King Morgon was supposedly a necromancer of terrible power, and it is written that as he lay dying, he told the Lannisters who had slain him (amongst them three of Loreon’s own sons) that he would return from the grave to wreak vengeance upon them one and all.  To prevent that, Loreon had Morgon’s body hacked into a hundred pieces and fed to his lions.  In a grisly aftermath, however, those selfsame lions broke loose two years later in the bowels of Casterly Rock, and slew the king’s sons, just as the Hooded King had promised.

The bear is so known for it’s temper that we still call people bears when they’re grumpy (he’s a bear in the morning). I haven't researched lions in depth, but I can’t recall this temper being ascribed to them though they are fierce and dangerous. Lions in ASOIAF are supposedly known for their fierceness and vengefulness (Rains of Castamere and always paying debts), but also their cleverness which is typically at odds with a ranging bear of a temper. Perhaps this increased priority on cleverness is why the lion seems to have replaced the bear as the king of beasts in popular culture and also ASOIAF? The bear as a warrior-smith and a keeper of treasure would also apply to the lion in ASOIAF. It all calls to mind again the idea of old ways vs new ways.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 11/25/2017 at 8:04 PM, The Fattest Leech said:

 

Yes :agree:

Interestingly enough, yesterday while in the car I decided to put AGOT on again to try and listen for something in particular when lo and behold I did notice how many ironwoods were mentioned that I had not really noticed before.

This is very interesting because the Boltons are to the Starks as the Yronwoods are to the historic Nymeria/Martell family of Dorne... and that saga is being played out already again in the north. History repeats, just with a twist! ;)

I’m also inclined to think of the Blackwoods who curiously take a sort of pride in their dying white-wooded weirwood. Blackwood is an odd name for a family who worships white wood. And they were exiled from the North for some reason though any animosity seems to have blown over since the Blackwoods seem very loyal to the Starks. At least I hope so for Bran’s sake.

Given the pride they take in their (dead?) weirwood, I have to wonder if the tree is really in transition or something? Maybe ironwoods used to be weirwoods?

Also, word play to consider: iron/lion and they are linked to fire and sun respectively.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 11/26/2017 at 9:16 PM, Seams said:

Regarding the ax given by Mormont to Craster - does it help to consider the ax Asha Greyjoy calls for Rolfe to throw to her at the feast at Pyke? She calls the ax her husband and the dirk (knife) her sweet suckling babe. Craster is killed by a guy named Dirk. (If the gifted ax is also Craster's "lord husband," maybe his murder by Dirk represents the revenge of his many sons - Craster is killed by a "sweet, suckling babe". Of course, Tywin will also be killed by his youngest son. Does Shae represent Gilly?)

The gate to Craster's Keep unites the ram and the bear:

On the southwest, he found an open gate flanked by a pair of animal skulls on high poles: a bear to one side, a ram to the other. (ACoK, Jon III)

It's almost like a shared coat of arms. Are Mormont and Craster two parts of a whole that needed to be reunited? Is there a symbolic marriage when Mormont gives Craster the ax? If so, is there a comparable symbolic "wedding" for Tywin?

I don't think we are supposed to compare Mormont to Joanna Lannister, but there are some odd weapon / wedding gift references in connection with Tywin: Robert makes Ser Ilyn the King's Justice as a wedding gift for Tywin; Gerion Lannister gave Robert a dagger as a wedding gift (and Tywin recommends that Tyrion go get it). Of course, Tywin also gives Joffrey a sword as a wedding gift.

Speaking of Ser Ilyn, Craster tells a story about cutting the tongue out of a messenger sent by Mance. I believe the tongue is still nailed to the wall in Craster's keep. In that detail, Craster is more like Aerys, I suppose, and Mance more like Tywin.

Maybe marriage is the wrong analogy for the bond between Craster and Mormont. Maybe they are linked by the gifted ax the way that Tywin is linked to Robert when Cersei marries Robert. Arya gives an ax to Jaqen that allows him to escape Yoren's caged wagon during the attack by Amory Lorch. You could say that Arya and Jaqen bond at that point, as Jaqen tells her that she can choose three deaths to offer to the gods. Or maybe the bond occurs when he gives her a weapon - the iron coin. Ramsay Snow and Theon / Reek develop a strange bond when Ramsay tortures Theon - not exactly the same thing as giving Theon a weapon, although that will happen, too, when he sends Theon to persuade the Ironmen to surrender at Deepwood Motte. A tie to this basket of symbols might be the finger dance that is underway when Asha calls for Rolfe to throw her the ax - Ramsay plays his own version of the finger dance with Theon. Jon Snow gives obsidian weapons to his close friends in the Night's Watch. We hear about his distribution of weapons through a Sam POV while Grenn uses an ax to split wood.

I would definitely say that Craster and Mormont are in bed with each other at least all seedy implication intended as much as I like Mormont. Mormont looks the other way at the sacrifice of children/aiding the Others in favor of fighting the wildlings which is how the NW Oath has come to be warped over time. It could point to a corrupt alliance? A misguided alliance? In Mormont's case, I'd say there was more than a little blindness involved.

Gerion is reported as saying by Genna that "Gerion made japes. Better to mock the game than to play and lose."  This indicates to me that Gerion was indeed interested in playing the game, but he would only play a game that he could win. He knew when to jape and when to play which makes me think that Gerion was much more ambitious than the text implies at first glance. Giving Robert a VS dagger indicates that Gerion very much wished to gain Robert's favor. The relationship between Tywin and Joffrey was strained to say the least. I would call Jaqen's influence on Arya to be very negative. Perhaps these are all fingerdance type alliances? I'm unsure as to the dirk. Will have to look at that more.

The axe but not the dirk comes up again with a number of Craster symbols when Tyrion meets Illyrio. We have cannibalism, pissing, shitting, Tyrion is a guest of Illyrio, Illyrio is a slaver while Craster is a slaver in a different way. Tyrion's "drains" are clear like how he cleared Casterly Rock, but Illyrio struggles to clear his drains. Illyrio is also surprisingly often linked to Casterly Rock.

ADWD Tyrion III

"I need a piss," the dwarf announced. He waddled off the road, undid his breeches, and relieved himself into a tangle of thorns. It took quite a long time.

"He pisses well, at least," a voice observed.

Tyrion flicked the last drops off and tucked himself away. "Pissing is the least of my talents. You ought to see me shit." He turned to Magister Illyrio. "Are these two known to you, magister? They look like outlaws. Should I find my axe?"

"Your axe?" exclaimed the larger of the riders, a brawny man with a shaggy beard and a shock of orange hair. "Did you hear that, Haldon? The little man wants to fight with us!"

His companion was older, clean-shaved, with a lined ascetic face. His hair had been pulled back and tied in a knot behind his head. "Small men oft feel a need to prove their courage with unseemly boasts," he declared. "I doubt if he could kill a duck."

Tyrion shrugged. "Fetch the duck."

"If you insist." The rider glanced at his companion.

The brawny man unsheathed a bastard sword. "I'm Duck, you mouthy little pisspot."

Oh, gods be good. "I had a smaller duck in mind."

The big man roared with laughter. "Did you hear, Haldon? He wants a smaller Duck!"

 

ADWD Tyrion II

They changed out teams only thrice that day but seemed to halt twice an hour at the least so Illyrio could climb down from the litter and have himself a piss. Our lord of cheese is the size of an elephant, but he has a bladder like a peanut, the dwarf mused.

 

ADWD Tyrion I

Above him loomed a grotesque fat man with a forked yellow beard, holding a wooden mallet and an iron chisel. His bedrobe was large enough to serve as a tourney pavilion, but its loosely knotted belt had come undone, exposing a huge white belly and a pair of heavy breasts that sagged like sacks of suet covered with coarse yellow hair. He reminded Tyrion of a dead sea cow that had once washed up in the caverns under Casterly Rock.

The fat man looked down and smiled. "A drunken dwarf," he said, in the Common Tongue of Westeros.

"A rotting sea cow." Tyrion's mouth was full of blood. He spat it at the fat man's feet.

 

ADWD Tyrion I

"I would sooner have mine own weight in gold." The cheesemonger laughed so hard that Tyrion feared he was about to rupture. "All the gold in Casterly Rock, why not?"

"The gold I grant you," the dwarf said, relieved that he was not about to drown in a gout of half-digested eels and sweetmeats, "but the Rock is mine."

"Just so." The magister covered his mouth and belched a mighty belch.

 

ADWD Tyrion II


"Are we back to that again? You are a persistent little man." Illyrio gave a laugh and slapped his belly. "As you will. The Beggar King swore that I should be his master of coin, and a lordly lord as well. Once he wore his golden crown, I should have my choice of castles … even Casterly Rock, if I desired."

Yet if the lord of cheese could be believed, the Mad King's daughter had hatched three living dragons. Two more than even a Targaryen should require. Tyrion was almost sorry that he had killed his father. He would have enjoyed seeing Lord Tywin's face when he learned that there was a Targaryen queen on her way to Westeros with three dragons, backed by a scheming eunuch and a cheesemonger half the size of Casterly Rock.

 Above we see duck mentioned. The character most associated with duck for me (and others apparently) is Illyrio from this scene where they're discussing Dany's marriage and Viserys' long-coming crown.

 

AGOT Daenerys II

"My fellow magisters have doubled the size of the city guard," Illyrio told them over platters of honey duck and orange snap peppers one night at the manse that had been Drogo's. The khal had joined his khalasar, his estate given over to Daenerys and her brother until the wedding.

 

...

Illyrio gave a massive shrug. "You have waited most of your life, great king. What is another few months, another few years?"

Ser Jorah, who had traveled as far east as Vaes Dothrak, nodded in agreement. "I counsel you to be patient, Your Grace. The Dothraki are true to their word, but they do things in their own time. A lesser man may beg a favor from the khal, but must never presume to berate him."

Viserys bristled. "Guard your tongue, Mormont, or I'll have it out. I am no lesser man, I am the rightful Lord of the Seven Kingdoms. The dragon does not beg."

Ser Jorah lowered his eyes respectfully. Illyrio smiled enigmatically and tore a wing from the duck. Honey and grease ran over his fingers and dripped down into his beard as he nibbled at the tender meat. There are no more dragons, Dany thought, staring at her brother, though she did not dare say it aloud.

Here we have cannibalism. Like Craster, Illyrio also wears a gold ring. Several actually. I haven't quoted it, but Tyrion's kinslaying of Tywin was being discussed here also.

ADWD Tyrion I

Illyrio was reclining on a padded couch, gobbling hot peppers and pearl onions from a wooden bowl. His brow was dotted with beads of sweat, his pig's eyes shining above his fat cheeks. Jewels danced when he moved his hands; onyx and opal, tiger's eye and tourmaline, ruby, amethyst, sapphire, emerald, jet and jade, a black diamond, and a green pearl. I could live for years on his rings, Tyrion mused, though I'd need a cleaver to claim them.

The suckling pig was carved. Illyrio reached for a piece of the crackling, dipped it in a plum sauce, and ate it with his fingers.

Edited by Lollygag

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 11/26/2017 at 9:16 PM, Seams said:

We know that some historic Lord Stark awarded Bear Island to the Mormont family. Were the Mormonts also displaced from somewhere, as were the Casterlys and the Manderlys? When Mormont joins the Night's Watch, he leaves behind a large family of women - his sister and nieces. Is this comparable to Craster's sister wives, left behind at his compound after he is murdered?

The Mormonts are rather different than the other northerners. Their island places them in an interesting location geographically. I always thought it interesting that as everyone was shouting "King in the North" when they decided to crown Robb, the Mormonts declared him "King of Winter".

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 11/27/2017 at 4:41 AM, GloubieBoulga said:

But to answer to @Lollygag purpose, if the parallelisms between Tywin and Craster seems for me obvious (and very well exposed here), I'm not convinced by the conclusion "Craster is a Casterly" = LF has also a castle built on a hill of dung/sheep's pellet (and he provoques Eddard/the bear's death before he steals his daughter) but we won't theorize about him as hidden heir of Lann nor the Casterly). Imo, the Craster's and Tywin's stuff are both variations about one part of the Stark's untold story (like Lann the clever and the Casterly also are)

The rocks, poo, sheep and the name helped me link Craster to the Casterlys, but the solid connection for me was laid out in the post below. I agree, just the poo/pee/rocks thing isn't enough of a connection because, yeah, that would include LF and a few other characters as possible Casterlys/Lannisters which I don't have any reason to believe that they are.

I do think that poo/pee has some significance to the story beyond just the obvious symbolism of someone being a shit. Tywin was deeply status obsessed yet Casterly Rock so smelled like shit with its drainage problem that he became (im)famous for it. With all of his money, he couldn't fix the problem? Tyrion is smart but he isn't a genius and he solved the drainage problem. Craster's filth is logical as he is personally unkept. LF neglects his home, so that's logical as well for me as I get the impression that he avoids the place as much as possible. And the depths of Casterly Rock are mentioned entirely too often for me to think it's nothing. Stonemen explain everything for me.

I agree with the symbolism being explored here and some truly fascinating ideas have been raised, but I'm digging deeper because symbolism must still be logical to the story, and it is not where Casterly Rock is concerned. I have more to post on the subject so if anyone is as yet unconvinced, I don't blame them at all if they call :bs:

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, Lollygag said:

I do think that poo/pee has some significance to the story beyond just the obvious symbolism of someone being a shit. Tywin was deeply status obsessed yet Casterly Rock so smelled like shit with its drainage problem that he became (im)famous for it. With all of his money, he couldn't fix the problem? Tyrion is smart but he isn't a genius and he solved the drainage problem. Craster's filth is logical as he is personally unkept. LF neglects his home, so that's logical as well for me as I get the impression that he avoids the place as much as possible. And the depths of Casterly Rock are mentioned entirely too often for me to think it's nothing.

I totally agree with that.

For me the "shit" serves to hide some shame/dirty or deadly secret, but lies and crimes were required for that ("the things I do for love"), and inevitably, it smells dung (if it's not dung, the smell is excessive and suspect : Varys plays a lot with that) : the Lannister have the twincest and all consequences (the bastards heirs); Craster hates to be recalled he is a bastard : in a kind of way his practice of incest is also a manner to obtain "pure blood". LF isn't a bastard but don't assumes his "low" born, so he changes his sigils, neglects his castle as if it weren't his home and plays the cuckoo, killing/provoking the fall of some people to take their place (Eddard for ex). But I actually see all these stories as "metaphores" for the real story of the Starks, Winterfell and the Wall (dephts of Casterly Rock are also echoing dephts of Winterfell): GRRM just applies them to other characters and buildings and as readers we see exactly what he wants we see ^^ (but perhaps I'm totally wrong with my Stark's focus)

By the way, I think you explore a very interesting and important theme here, which asks central questions. Thanks !

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, Lollygag said:

Mormont looks the other way at the sacrifice of children/aiding the Others in favor of fighting the wildlings which is how the NW Oath has come to be warped over time.

Do you really believe that Mormont knows that Craster sacrificed his sons to the Others? I don't at all. Mormont does not know who Craster's "gods" are. Jon never fully informs Jeor about what Gilly hinted at, and the show version certainly is not the book version - no son is born to Craster when Jon is around, Jon never follows Craster, heck Jon has never even seen an Other with his own eyes by the end of aDwD. So, no, Jeor does not actually know that Craster is in an alliance with the Others... What Craster does insofar Mormont can know appears to be infanticide - leave a newborn out to die either by the cold, hunger or taken by predators. Mormont's behavior supports this is how he interpretes it. Mormont obviously does not believe that Craster's gods are any different from the seven or the old gods, or that they even exist... If he believed Craster's gods were real, he wouldn't be offering to raise the sons at the Wall. Mormont does not have the same information that Jon or the reader has on this. Mormont doesn't even close his eyes on the evil man Craster is - he explicitly tells Jon that he left the axe on the table all night for one of his wives to take it and kill Craster.

While we consider infanticide morally reprehensible, it was not an uncommon practice in hunter-gathering societies: lacking modern surgical means and unrelaible birth control methods women had a high risk of ending up pregnant while they did not want a child. Unlike a full farming society, semi-sedentary hunters do not need dozen of children as cheap labor. Hunting and gathering requires long term training - training in the hunting weapon, learning the lay of the land, experience and developed intellect for strategy, memorizing plants, reocgnizing this plant from that plant and not ending up picking and cooking the poisonous berries. So, if you have a newborn who you have to teach all of that still, or an 8 year old who's beating you at a strategic game, but you only have food for one child stored away for winter, then that society will push for the 8 year old to survive over the newborn infant.

To the brothers of the NW the context they see is that of infanticide. They themselves find the practice abhorrent, but understand that Craster's lifestyle and society is so different that infanticide makes the difference between only a newborn dying or a nuclear family dying. Infanticide is likely not even an uncommon practice amongst Free Folk in general (for the antropological-social reasons I already mentioned that apply in real world too).

I would even say that Free Folk committing occasional infanticide is likely the reason why the Others tolerated them for so long. Craster subverted it, by making it look as if he's committing infanticide, but instead providing the Others with "sons".

Nor is Craster an honest man to Mormont, whatsoever... Craster plays Mormont like a bear hunter - relying on the fact that while bears understand human tongue, they lack understanding of the double entendre.

Share this post


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

Do you really believe that Mormont knows that Craster sacrificed his sons to the Others? I don't at all. Mormont does not know who Craster's "gods" are. Jon never fully informs Jeor about what Gilly hinted at, and the show version certainly is not the book version - no son is born to Craster when Jon is around, Jon never follows Craster, heck Jon has never even seen an Other with his own eyes by the end of aDwD. So, no, Jeor does not actually know that Craster is in an alliance with the Others... What Craster does insofar Mormont can know appears to be infanticide - leave a newborn out to die either by the cold, hunger or taken by predators. Mormont's behavior supports this is how he interpretes it. Mormont obviously does not believe that Craster's gods are any different from the seven or the old gods, or that they even exist... If he believed Craster's gods were real, he wouldn't be offering to raise the sons at the Wall. Mormont does not have the same information that Jon or the reader has on this. Mormont doesn't even close his eyes on the evil man Craster is - he explicitly tells Jon that he left the axe on the table all night for one of his wives to take it and kill Craster.

While we consider infanticide morally reprehensible, it was not an uncommon practice in hunter-gathering societies: lacking modern surgical means and unrelaible birth control methods women had a high risk of ending up pregnant while they did not want a child. Unlike a full farming society, semi-sedentary hunters do not need dozen of children as cheap labor. Hunting and gathering requires long term training - training in the hunting weapon, learning the lay of the land, experience and developed intellect for strategy, memorizing plants, reocgnizing this plant from that plant and not ending up picking and cooking the poisonous berries. So, if you have a newborn who you have to teach all of that still, or an 8 year old who's beating you at a strategic game, but you only have food for one child stored away for winter, then that society will push for the 8 year old to survive over the newborn infant.

To the brothers of the NW the context they see is that of infanticide. They themselves find the practice abhorrent, but understand that Craster's lifestyle and society is so different that infanticide makes the difference between only a newborn dying or a nuclear family dying. Infanticide is likely not even an uncommon practice amongst Free Folk in general (for the antropological-social reasons I already mentioned that apply in real world too).

I would even say that Free Folk committing occasional infanticide is likely the reason why the Others tolerated them for so long. Craster subverted it, by making it look as if he's committing infanticide, but instead providing the Others with "sons".

Nor is Craster an honest man to Mormont, whatsoever... Craster plays Mormont like a bear hunter - relying on the fact that while bears understand human tongue, they lack understanding of the double entendre.

I think this might warrant its own thread. It’s one of those highly debatable scenarios of which GRRM is so fond. I’m not expecting to convince you but here’s why I think that Mormont knows enough to be called out on it. First of, I rely on what the rangers know. What the rangers know, I assume Mormont knows. Sorry for the text bomb but I think it's required.

"You knew?"

"Smallwood told me. Long ago. All the rangers know, though few will talk of it."

Yeah, I think he strongly suspects something to the extent that he knows but does not know kind of like how you know someone’s cheating but because of the stakes being so high you can’t really do anything about it until you have more proof thus you choose to put up it until that proof turns up. I think he knew the same way that Tywin knew about twincest, and how Ned knew about Robert’s children. Mormont pushed it back because the implications and the course of action which must follow from committing to such a fact were overwhelming.

Truly, this is one of the big holes in the story for me because even though Mormont’s and Jon’s hands are tied, the lack of upset over murdering infants let alone one’s own children is just missing for me from both of these characters. We have a history of adult human and animal sacrifice firmly entrenched into the story, but not that of infants. Infant sacrifice let alone that of one’s own children would need to be laid out for me in the story to explain Mormont’s and Jon’s very logical and seemingly easy resignation of what Craster is doing. It feels like Mormont and Jon know something that the reader does not. I also have a problem with how the gods Mormont mentions are not brought up elsewhere in the story. The reader wasn’t told of any other gods north of the Wall beyond Mormont’s mysterious reference. The only other god-like beings north of the Wall for the reader are the Others. That no other gods were presented to the reader to ascribe to Mormont’s reference tells me that Mormont is referring to the Others here without overtly committing to it and to avoid alarming his very impressionable steward.

This obviously wasn't reported to Mormont, but it's easy to guess other rangers reported to Mormont that things are different, changing. The Others are tied to winter itself and it's no stretch of the imagination for me to think that Mormont has made the connection between not-normal Winter, the Others, and Craster's crueler gods.

AGOT Prologue

Ser Waymar Royce glanced at the sky with disinterest. "It does that every day about this time. Are you unmanned by the dark, Gared?"

Will could see the tightness around Gared's mouth, the barely suppressed anger in his eyes under the thick black hood of his cloak. Gared had spent forty years in the Night's Watch, man and boy, and he was not accustomed to being made light of. Yet it was more than that. Under the wounded pride, Will could sense something else in the older man. You could taste it; a nervous tension that came perilous close to fear.

Will shared his unease. He had been four years on the Wall. The first time he had been sent beyond, all the old stories had come rushing back, and his bowels had turned to water. He had laughed about it afterward. He was a veteran of a hundred rangings by now, and the endless dark wilderness that the southron called the haunted forest had no more terrors for him.

Until tonight. Something was different tonight. There was an edge to this darkness that made his hackles rise. Nine days they had been riding, north and northwest and then north again, farther and farther from the Wall, hard on the track of a band of Wildling raiders. Each day had been worse than the day that had come before it. Today was the worst of all. A cold wind was blowing out of the north, and it made the trees rustle like living things. All day, Will had felt as though something were watching him, something cold and implacable that loved him not. Gared had felt it too. Will wanted nothing so much as to ride hellbent for the safety of the Wall, but that was not a feeling to share with your commander.

 

 

AGOT Tyrion III

The Lord Commander took no notice of the irritating bird. "Gared was near as old as I am and longer on the Wall," he went on, "yet it would seem he forswore himself and fled. I should never have believed it, not of him, but Lord Eddard sent me his head from Winterfell. Of Royce, there is no word. One deserter and two men lost, and now Ben Stark too has gone missing." He sighed deeply. "Who am I to send searching after him? In two years I will be seventy. Too old and too weary for the burden I bear, yet if I set it down, who will pick it up? Alliser Thorne? Bowen Marsh? I would have to be as blind as Maester Aemon not to see what they are. The Night's Watch has become an army of sullen boys and tired old men. Apart from the men at my table tonight, I have perhaps twenty who can read, and even fewer who can think, or plan, or lead. Once the Watch spent its summers building, and each Lord Commander raised the Wall higher than he found it. Now it is all we can do to stay alive."

He was in deadly earnest, Tyrion realized. He felt faintly embarrassed for the old man. Lord Mormont had spent a good part of his life on the Wall, and he needed to believe if those years were to have any meaning. "I promise, the king will hear of your need," Tyrion said gravely, "and I will speak to my father and my brother Jaime as well." And he would. Tyrion Lannister was as good as his word. He left the rest unsaid; that King Robert would ignore him, Lord Tywin would ask if he had taken leave of his senses, and Jaime would only laugh.

"You are a young man, Tyrion," Mormont said. "How many winters have you seen?"

He shrugged. "Eight, nine. I misremember."

"And all of them short."

"As you say, my lord." He had been born in the dead of winter, a terrible cruel one that the maesters said had lasted near three years, but Tyrion's earliest memories were of spring.

"When I was a boy, it was said that a long summer always meant a long winter to come. This summer has lasted nine years, Tyrion, and a tenth will soon be upon us. Think on that."

"When I was a boy," Tyrion replied, "my wet nurse told me that one day, if men were good, the gods would give the world a summer without ending. Perhaps we've been better than we thought, and the Great Summer is finally at hand." He grinned.

The Lord Commander did not seem amused. "You are not fool enough to believe that, my lord. Already the days grow shorter. There can be no mistake, Aemon has had letters from the Citadel, findings in accord with his own. The end of summer stares us in the face." Mormont reached out and clutched Tyrion tightly by the hand. "You must make them understand. I tell you, my lord, the darkness is coming. There are wild things in the woods, direwolves and mammoths and snow bears the size of aurochs, and I have seen darker shapes in my dreams."

"In your dreams," Tyrion echoed, thinking how badly he needed another strong drink.

Mormont was deaf to the edge in his voice. "The fisherfolk near Eastwatch have glimpsed white walkers on the shore."

This time Tyrion could not hold his tongue. "The fisherfolk of Lannisport often glimpse merlings."

"Denys Mallister writes that the mountain people are moving south, slipping past the Shadow Tower in numbers greater than ever before. They are running, my lord … but running from what?" Lord Mormont moved to the window and stared out into the night. "These are old bones, Lannister, but they have never felt a chill like this. Tell the king what I say, I pray you. Winter is coming, and when the Long Night falls, only the Night's Watch will stand between the realm and the darkness that sweeps from the north. The gods help us all if we are not ready."

"The gods help me if I do not get some sleep tonight. Yoren is determined to ride at first light." Tyrion got to his feet, sleepy from wine and tired of doom. "I thank you for all the courtesies you have done me, Lord Mormont."

In AGOT, Mormont is already aware of the wights and that they need to be burned.

AGOT Jon VII

 

Dywen sucked at his wooden teeth. "Might be they didn't die here. Might be someone brought 'em and left 'em for us. A warning, as like." The old forester peered down suspiciously. "And might be I'm a fool, but I don't know that Othor never had no blue eyes afore."

Ser Jaremy looked startled. "Neither did Flowers," he blurted, turning to stare at the dead man.

"Burn them," someone whispered. One of the rangers; Jon could not have said who. "Yes, burn them," a second voice urged.

The Old Bear gave a stubborn shake of his head. "Not yet. I want Maester Aemon to have a look at them. We'll bring them back to the Wall."

Given how often rangers are at Crasters as is implied below, I doubt that Gilly was the first mother to approach a ranger in plea for her child. Jon tells Mormont that the sons are given to the wood. Mormont replies that they're really given to crueler gods. I don't hold that Mormont doesn't believe in Craster's crueler gods as I don't see this below. The general culture in Westeros is to believe in all gods old, new, R'hllor, Drowned God, but to chose to follow only some of those but not all.

 

ACOK Jon III

Jon took his accustomed position at Mormont's side as the Night's Watch streamed out past the skulls on Craster's gate. They struck off north and west along a crooked game trail. Melting ice dripped down all about them, a slower sort of rain with its own soft music. North of the compound, the brook was in full spate, choked with leaves and bits of wood, but the scouts had found where the ford lay and the column was able to splash across. The water ran as high as a horse's belly. Ghost swam, emerging on the bank with his white fur dripping brown. When he shook, spraying mud and water in all directions, Mormont said nothing, but on his shoulder the raven screeched.

"My lord," Jon said quietly as the wood closed in around them once more. "Craster has no sheep. Nor any sons."

Mormont made no answer.

"At Winterfell one of the serving women told us stories," Jon went on. "She used to say that there were wildlings who would lay with the Others to birth half-human children."

"Hearth tales. Does Craster seem less than human to you?"

In half a hundred ways. "He gives his sons to the wood."

A long silence. Then: "Yes." And "Yes," the raven muttered, strutting. "Yes, yes, yes."

"You knew?"

"Smallwood told me. Long ago. All the rangers know, though few will talk of it."

"Did my uncle know?"

"All the rangers," Mormont repeated. "You think I ought to stop him. Kill him if need be." The Old Bear sighed. "Were it only that he wished to rid himself of some mouths, I'd gladly send Yoren or Conwys to collect the boys. We could raise them to the black and the Watch would be that much the stronger. But the wildlings serve crueler gods than you or I. These boys are Craster's offerings. His prayers, if you will."

His wives must offer different prayers, Jon thought.

"How is it you came to know this?" the Old Bear asked him. "From one of Craster's wives?"

"Yes, my lord," Jon confessed. "I would sooner not tell you which. She was frightened and wanted help."

"The wide world is full of people wanting help, Jon. Would that some could find the courage to help themselves. Craster sprawls in his loft even now, stinking of wine and lost to sense. On his board below lies a sharp new axe. Were it me, I'd name it "Answered Prayer' and make an end."

Yes. Jon thought of Gilly. She and her sisters. They were nineteen, and Craster was one, but . . .

"Yet it would be an ill day for us if Craster died. Your uncle could tell you of the times Craster's Keep made the difference between life and death for our rangers."

"My father . . ." He hesitated.

"Go on, Jon. Say what you would say."

"My father once told me that some men are not worth having," Jon finished. "A bannerman who is brutal or unjust dishonors his liege lord as well as himself."

"Craster is his own man. He has sworn us no vows. Nor is he subject to our laws. Your heart is noble, Jon, but learn a lesson here. We cannot set the world to rights. That is not our purpose. The Night's Watch has other wars to fight."

Other wars. Yes. I must remember. "Jarman Buckwell said I might have need of my sword soon."

"Did he?" Mormont did not seem pleased. "Craster said much and more last night, and confirmed enough of my fears to condemn me to a sleepless night on his floor. Mance Rayder is gathering his people together in the Frostfangs. That's why the villages are empty. It is the same tale that Ser Denys Mallister had from the wildling his men captured in the Gorge, but Craster has added the where, and that makes all the difference."

 

Mormont compares the coming winter to the Long Night winter and the Long Night came with the Others.

AGOT Bran IV

"Oh, my sweet summer child," Old Nan said quietly, "what do you know of fear? Fear is for the winter, my little lord, when the snows fall a hundred feet deep and the ice wind comes howling out of the north. Fear is for the long night, when the sun hides its face for years at a time, and little children are born and live and die all in darkness while the direwolves grow gaunt and hungry, and the white walkers move through the woods."

"You mean the Others," Bran said querulously.

"The Others," Old Nan agreed. "Thousands and thousands of years ago, a winter fell that was cold and hard and endless beyond all memory of man. There came a night that lasted a generation, and kings shivered and died in their castles even as the swineherds in their hovels. Women smothered their children rather than see them starve, and cried, and felt their tears freeze on their cheeks." Her voice and her needles fell silent, and she glanced up at Bran with pale, filmy eyes and asked, "So, child. This is the sort of story you like?"

It’s too much of a mental leap for me that Mormont hasn’t connected the coming winter, wights, white walker sightings, and stories of the Others to Craster’s crueler gods, especially in the absence of mention of any other gods to the reader.

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by Lollygag

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×