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Curled Finger

First Men Kings in the North

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Been reading through the topics in hopes of finding a conversation dedicated to the Barrows, Warg, Marsh and Red Kings as described in AWOIAF.   I've come close, but not finding an all encompassing discussion.   We know the Dustins were the Barrows Kings and their magic seems to connect to either necromancy or ghosts.  The Marsh Kings are said to have married the COTF and gained the power of green dreams as well as all the other strange characteristics the Crannogmen are said to possess (running on leaves, breathing mud, moving castles...).   I believe Meera mentions her family were kings in the days of old which makes the Reeds the Marsh Kings.   The Red Kings are the Boltons but we are giving no indication of their magic power.   The Warg Kings surely had the power to warg which is to specifically skin change with a wolf, but we are not told their name.    Please feel free to correct as this is just what I've gathered and I'm always open to constructive instruction.   

It's pretty commonly held that the Blackwoods were the Warg Kings.   We know the Blackwoods were exiled for some undisclosed reason and we know the Starks married the Warg King's daughters, absorbing the warg power into their own DNA.   I understand the Blackwoods have some power--look what Bloodraven has come to.   That's some powerful magic.   I've read that the Blackwoods are dream speakers and that's obvious and easy to get behind.   Seems to me a Warg King would have some outward affiliation with wolves, not a big old dead Weirwood covered in ravens.

I think the Boltons as the Red Kings and flayers of men were in fact the family to bring skin changing other creatures into the mix.   Specifically the ability to skin change humans.   As many times as we are reminded of the Boltons wearing the skins of their enemies as cloaks it feels like a reference so obtuse it would be easily overlooked.   The Stark kids exhibit all these powers to varying degrees.   Jon, Rickon and Bran speak with the dead in their dreams.  Rickon and Bran see ghosts.   Jon, Bran and Arya have wolf dreams.  Bran and Arya are skin changers.   

Could the Blackwoods have changed their sigil after moving south?   Could they have taken exile rather than submit to the Starks?   How does this fit with knowing their daughters were married to the Starks?   If not the Blackwoods, who could the Warg Kings be?   If not skin changers what magic could the Boltons have?      

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The Dustins claim some connection to the Barrow Kings, but I don't think we know enough to state that they were one and the same. Maybe they were married into the dynasty, like many Reach houses descending from the Gardeners / Garth Greenhand.

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The rusted crown upon the arms of House Dustin derives from their claim that they are themselves descended from the First King and the Barrow Kings who ruled after him. The old tales recorded in Kennet's Passages of the Dead claim that a curse was placed on the Great Barrow that would allow no living man to rival the First King. This curse made these pretenders to the title grow corpselike in their appearance as it sucked away their vitality and life. This is no more than legend, to be sure, but that the Dustins share blood and descent from the Barrow Kings of old seems sure enough.

Barrowton, too, is somewhat of a curiosity—a gathering place built at the foot of the reputed barrow of the First King, who once ruled supreme over all the First Men, if the legends can be believed. Rising from the midst of a wide and empty plain, it has prospered thanks to the shrewd stewardship of the Dustins, loyal bannermen to the Starks, who have ruled the Barrowlands in their name since the fall of the last of the Barrow Kings. (TWOIAF)

I'm not aware of the Reeds having been Marsh Kings. Rather, they appear to be the local rulers of the Neck on behalf of Winterfell after the death of the last Marsh King. 

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Long ago, the histories claim, the crannogmen were ruled by the Marsh Kings. Singers tell of them riding on lizard lions and using great frog spears like lances, but that is clearly fancy. Were these Marsh Kings even truly kings, as we understand it? Archmaester Eyron writes that the crannogmen saw their kings as the first among equals, who were often thought to be touched by the old gods—a fact that was said to show itself in eyes of strange hues, or even in speaking with animals as the children are said to have done.

Whatever the truth, the last man to be called Marsh King was killed by King Rickard Stark (sometimes called the Laughing Wolf in the North, for his good nature), who took the man's daughter to wife, whereupon the crannogmen bent their knees and accepted the dominion of Winterfell. In the centuries since, the crannogmen have become stout allies of the Starks, under the leadership of the Reeds of Greywater Watch. (TWOIAF)

The Blackwoods might have been involved with the Warg King, although the Blackwoods claim to have come from the wolfswood while the Warg King is associated with fighting for Sea Dragon Point (which is albeit near the wolfswood). AGOT suggests the wolfswood is named after the wolves which inhabit it. I wonder if it was originally the blackwood, however, and was renamed wolfswood after being conquered by the Starks.

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With the mountains a wall to the west, the road veered north by northeast through the wood, a forest of oak and evergreen and black brier that seemed older and darker than any Tyrion had ever seen. "The wolfswood," Benjen Stark called it, and indeed their nights came alive with the howls of distant packs, and some not so distant. Jon Snow's albino direwolf pricked up his ears at the nightly howling, but never raised his own voice in reply. There was something very unsettling about that animal, Tyrion thought. (AGOT Tyrion II)

...and mayhaps even the Blackwoods of Raventree, whose own family traditions insist they once ruled most of the wolfswood before being driven from their lands by the Kings of Winter (certain runic records support this claim, if Maester Barneby's translations can be trusted). (TWOIAF)

Chronicles found in the archives of the Night's Watch at the Nightfort (before it was abandoned) speak of the war for Sea Dragon Point, wherein the Starks brought down the Warg King and his inhuman allies, the children of the forest. When the Warg King's last redoubt fell, his sons were put to the sword, along with his beasts and greenseers, whilst his daughters were taken as prizes by their conquerors.(TWOIAF)

It isn't specified that the Warg King was killed (unlike his sons), so I suppose it's possible he fled to the riverlands. I'm skeptical, however, and assume Martin's intention is that his family ended with the men killed and the women taken.

I do find it interesting that Martin didn't provide names for the families of the Barrow, Marsh, and Warg Kings (if they even had family names). The Warg King, at least, appears to have been a singular figure rather than a series of monarchs.

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Curled Finger,

The Winter Kings, the Red Kings and the Marsh Kings are lines of kings. But, as far as we know, the Warg King was a single person.

He could have been a proto-ancestor of the Blackwood, but I very much doubt that he ever used this family name. And AWOIAF seems to suggest the Starks ended his line (all his sons were put to the sword). But I like the idea that the original River kingdom of House Blackwood was founded by the exiled supporters of the Warg King.

 

On 1/11/2017 at 9:55 PM, Nittanian said:

although the Blackwoods claim to have come from the wolfswood while the Warg King is associated with fighting for Sea Dragon Point (which is albeit near the wolfswood).

AWOIAF states that Warg King fell in Sea Dragon's Point defending "his last redoubt", suggesting that the Starks had been pushing him for some time. If the Starks came from Winterfell, and the Warg King controlled the entire wood, it makes perfect sense he would be cornered in Sea Dragon Point and would make his last stand there.

On 1/11/2017 at 9:55 PM, Nittanian said:

 AGOT suggests the wolfswood is named after the wolves which inhabit it. I wonder if it was originally the blackwood, however, and was renamed wolfswood after being conquered by the Starks.

I do support this idea. The wolfswood has been described as a "very thick forest", and composed of oaks, sentinels and black brier.

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On 16.10.2017 at 5:13 AM, Curled Finger said:

Been reading through the topics in hopes of finding a conversation dedicated to the Barrows, Warg, Marsh and Red Kings as described in AWOIAF.   I've come close, but not finding an all encompassing discussion.   We know the Dustins were the Barrows Kings and their magic seems to connect to either necromancy or ghosts. 

As others have said, we do not know that. What we do know is that the Dustins are the successors of the Barrow Kings. They could be a cadet branch through the female - say, some distant cousins of the Barrow King line - but even that is just speculation.

There is no hint whatsoever that the Dustins have any special magical powers.

On 16.10.2017 at 5:13 AM, Curled Finger said:

The Marsh Kings are said to have married the COTF and gained the power of green dreams as well as all the other strange characteristics the Crannogmen are said to possess (running on leaves, breathing mud, moving castles...).   I believe Meera mentions her family were kings in the days of old which makes the Reeds the Marsh Kings.

The Reeds are never referred to have been kings in the past. Not to mention that he crannogmen apparently never had kings in the sense the other First Men kingdoms had. They were more egalitarian - like first among equals as was the case in the First Men kingdom along the Greenblood.

The crannogmen certainly have some special powers and abilities but it seems that's something that's no special traits of the Reeds.

On 16.10.2017 at 5:13 AM, Curled Finger said:

The Red Kings are the Boltons but we are giving no indication of their magic power.

No hint whatsoever that royal lines have to have magic powers.

On 16.10.2017 at 5:13 AM, Curled Finger said:

The Warg Kings surely had the power to warg which is to specifically skin change with a wolf, but we are not told their name.

As has already been said, there is merely one Warg King, not a line of Warg Kings.

On 16.10.2017 at 5:13 AM, Curled Finger said:

Please feel free to correct as this is just what I've gathered and I'm always open to constructive instruction.   

It's pretty commonly held that the Blackwoods were the Warg Kings.   We know the Blackwoods were exiled for some undisclosed reason and we know the Starks married the Warg King's daughters, absorbing the warg power into their own DNA.   I understand the Blackwoods have some power--look what Bloodraven has come to.   That's some powerful magic.   I've read that the Blackwoods are dream speakers and that's obvious and easy to get behind.   Seems to me a Warg King would have some outward affiliation with wolves, not a big old dead Weirwood covered in ravens.

Since the Warg King lived and ruled on Sea Dragon Point along with the Children of the Forest that were allied with him - which the Starks slaughtered along with the greenseers of the Warg King - it is rather unlikely that he was a Blackwood.

He might not even have been a king of a royal house or line but rather simply a warg who rose to power and influence and eventually crowned himself. It is pretty likely that adventures could rise high back in the days of the Hundred Kingdoms, just as they can today in the lands beyond the Wall. The Warg King could have been another Varamyr Sixskins or Mance Rayder.

On 1.11.2017 at 9:55 PM, Nittanian said:

The Blackwoods might have been involved with the Warg King, although the Blackwoods claim to have come from the wolfswood while the Warg King is associated with fighting for Sea Dragon Point (which is albeit near the wolfswood). AGOT suggests the wolfswood is named after the wolves which inhabit it. I wonder if it was originally the blackwood, however, and was renamed wolfswood after being conquered by the Starks.

We have to keep in mind that the Starks also defeated and broke the Glovers, who apparently were petty kings, too, back in the ancient days. Considering that they still live in the northern Wolfswood and considering that Deepwood Motte seems to be a very ancient castle I'd suggest that the Blackwoods - if it is true that they lived in the North, once - actually lived in a section of the Wolfswood not controlled by the Glovers. Perhaps the southern parts which is now directly controlled by the Starks, perhaps in the western reaches closer to the sea.

If they were living closer to Winterfell than the Glovers then it would make sense to assume that the Starks drove the Blackwoods out of their lands in the very distant past, perhaps very shortly after their own rise to power and prominence after the Long Night began.

And then it would be very unlikely indeed that they have anything to do with the Warg King.

On 1.11.2017 at 9:55 PM, Nittanian said:

It isn't specified that the Warg King was killed (unlike his sons), so I suppose it's possible he fled to the riverlands. I'm skeptical, however, and assume Martin's intention is that his family ended with the men killed and the women taken.

Yes, that is the impression we get. 

On 1.11.2017 at 9:55 PM, Nittanian said:

I do find it interesting that Martin didn't provide names for the families of the Barrow, Marsh, and Warg Kings (if they even had family names). The Warg King, at least, appears to have been a singular figure rather than a series of monarchs.

Exactly. See above.

We get a rather interesting list on many of the houses the Starks destroyed completely, so it is actually not unlikely at all that the Warg King - if he had a house name - was from one of those houses rather than from a house that still exists.

6 hours ago, The hairy bear said:

I do support this idea. The wolfswood has been described as a "very thick forest", and composed of oaks, sentinels and black brier.

One should also keep in mind that the Wolfswood would have been a much larger forest in the ancient days. After the Long Night Winterfell itself might have been raised in the middle of that forest, just as there must have been forests all over the place in the North and the other kingdoms that are long since gone.

It makes little sense to assume that the First Men - and later the Andals - didn't change the face of their lands in the millennia they ruled them.

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I like your OP and I agree with most of it except that the Boltons needed to have any supernatural powers just because they were a kingly line.  The flayed man sigil is intriguing, I agree; however, unlike the Warg, Barrow and Marsh Kings, there is no hint in the texts that the Boltons had anything extraordinary about them except perhaps cruelty. 

I always remind myself that WOIAF is a retro production, written after the fact to give us some ideas and hints as to how the past might have shaped present Westeros, particularly, in this section, what might be special about the Starks.  The Starks intermarried with the Warg, Barrow and Marsh Kings lines. Therefore some of their progeny might have greenseeing, skinchanging/warging and death-related magic.  We've seen two of the three in the kids, and might see the third, , because necromancy is established in the series, and it might be a bloodline thing as well.  He also carefully planted a Blackwood in Bloodraven's family tree, and then hinted at Blackwood roots in the north, the wolfwood so possible warg connections, to help explain why a Targaryan could become a greenseer.  Martin has given us a history we can trace those abilities back to.

But the Starks never intermarried as far as I can tell with the Boltons or Red Kings  or at least there is no mention of it, so to my mind WOIAF is saying the Starks got nothing from them, and since the Boltons themselves manifest nothing present day either, I'm just assuming there's nothing there.

That's not to say the Boltons could nof have intermarried with a few skinchangers themselves over the centuries.  Certainly berserker families like the Mormonts probably have a glimmer of the talent. In fact, with all the animal totem sigils in Westeros, one gets the sense that some kind of animal spirit bonding might have been quite well-spread among the First Men, but likely more in a shamanistic sense than full skinchanging.

The flayed man sigil is interesting in that sense because it is not an animal, which you would expect it to be if they were associated with skinchanging.  As a wild guess, I'd say it more hinted at an enmity between the Boltons and skinchanging families.  Animals are flayed and skinned. But in the case of men inhabiting the skins of wolves or bears, it's the men who'd be flayed as well symbolically.

 

Edited by Lady Barbrey

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On 11/1/2017 at 1:55 PM, Nittanian said:

The Dustins claim some connection to the Barrow Kings, but I don't think we know enough to state that they were one and the same. Maybe they were married into the dynasty, like many Reach houses descending from the Gardeners / Garth Greenhand.

I'm not aware of the Reeds having been Marsh Kings. Rather, they appear to be the local rulers of the Neck on behalf of Winterfell after the death of the last Marsh King. 

The Blackwoods might have been involved with the Warg King, although the Blackwoods claim to have come from the wolfswood while the Warg King is associated with fighting for Sea Dragon Point (which is albeit near the wolfswood). AGOT suggests the wolfswood is named after the wolves which inhabit it. I wonder if it was originally the blackwood, however, and was renamed wolfswood after being conquered by the Starks.

It isn't specified that the Warg King was killed (unlike his sons), so I suppose it's possible he fled to the riverlands. I'm skeptical, however, and assume Martin's intention is that his family ended with the men killed and the women taken.

I do find it interesting that Martin didn't provide names for the families of the Barrow, Marsh, and Warg Kings (if they even had family names). The Warg King, at least, appears to have been a singular figure rather than a series of monarchs.

Good on you!   My friend made the same arguments.  Not enough information to draw my conclusions.   Though I didn't intend to specify fact in the OP, I didn't state it outright.  However, neither of us can prove a negative and I do appreciate your careful admonishments.   

I have to agree with what you state about the Dustins.   We don't know.    I based their addition upon their location further based upon the lack of statement regarding the displacement of our current houses.    There are plenty of houses established in the Age of Heroes still intact.    Without mention of overthrow or displacement of the Dustins as the Barrow Kings, it's highly possible that they are.  

The Reeds are openly and outright described as magical. They are suspected to have married the COTF.   We know some of what both the Children and the Reeds can do--what more do we need to draw the conclusion that the Reeds were The Marsh Kings? 

I'm pretty sure I said that the Blackwoods were the most suspected of being the Warg Kings.  The World Book says :

Chronicles found in the archives of the Night's Watch at the Nightfort (before it was abandoned) speak of the war for Sea Dragon Point, wherein the Starks brought down the Warg King and his inhuman allies, the children of the forest. When the Warg King's last redoubt fell, his sons were put to the sword, along with his beasts and greenseers, whilst his daughters were taken as prizes by their conquerors.  The North: Kings of Winter

I realize you aren't particularly arguing the point.    It was just a good opportunity to refer to the text. And the whole chapter is confusing.   We have no real timeline nor names for these opposing kings.   We have no reason for the wars between them and the Starks.   Only these sparse facts and I have to take pause and wonder why?   What are they trying to tell us about these Stark foes of old?   

 

 

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On 11/6/2017 at 5:22 PM, Lord Varys said:

The Reeds are never referred to have been kings in the past. Not to mention that he crannogmen apparently never had kings in the sense the other First Men kingdoms had. They were more egalitarian - like first among equals as was the case in the First Men kingdom along the Greenblood.

The crannogmen certainly have some special powers and abilities but it seems that's something that's no special traits of the Reeds.

No hint whatsoever that royal lines have to have magic powers.

As has already been said, there is merely one Warg King, not a line of Warg Kings.

Since the Warg King lived and ruled on Sea Dragon Point along with the Children of the Forest that were allied with him - which the Starks slaughtered along with the greenseers of the Warg King - it is rather unlikely that he was a Blackwood.

He might not even have been a king of a royal house or line but rather simply a warg who rose to power and influence and eventually crowned himself. It is pretty likely that adventures could rise high back in the days of the Hundred Kingdoms, just as they can today in the lands beyond the Wall. The Warg King could have been another Varamyr Sixskins or Mance Rayder.

We have to keep in mind that the Starks also defeated and broke the Glovers, who apparently were petty kings, too, back in the ancient days. Considering that they still live in the northern Wolfswood and considering that Deepwood Motte seems to be a very ancient castle I'd suggest that the Blackwoods - if it is true that they lived in the North, once - actually lived in a section of the Wolfswood not controlled by the Glovers. Perhaps the southern parts which is now directly controlled by the Starks, perhaps in the western reaches closer to the sea.

If they were living closer to Winterfell than the Glovers then it would make sense to assume that the Starks drove the Blackwoods out of their lands in the very distant past, perhaps very shortly after their own rise to power and prominence after the Long Night began.

We get a rather interesting list on many of the houses the Starks destroyed completely, so it is actually not unlikely at all that the Warg King - if he had a house name - was from one of those houses rather than from a house that still exists.

One should also keep in mind that the Wolfswood would have been a much larger forest in the ancient days. After the Long Night Winterfell itself might have been raised in the middle of that forest, just as there must have been forests all over the place in the North and the other kingdoms that are long since gone.

It makes little sense to assume that the First Men - and later the Andals - didn't change the face of their lands in the millennia they ruled them.

I deleted what I thought was covered above as you and the previous poster have similar ideas.  

Could you elaborate on your statement about the magical traits of the Reeds being no special ability?   I'm thinking I've misunderstood something here.   

If the royal lines of the old Kings in the North were not magical, why mention them all together with the magical Barrows and Marsh Kings?   I didn't see the Glovers mentioned anywhere near words about magic.    I think this entire couple of paragraphs does tell us about the magical Kings or families.  Otherwise, the paragraphs say little.    There is no real reason given for the wars other than the refusal of the Red Kings to submit to the Starks.   

You are reasonable and rational.  I understand the whole "we don't have enough information argument".   It's reasonable and rational.   At the risk of jumping to the wrong conclusion, what is the point of these conquests even being mentioned if not to explain the magic the Stark children have?   

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On 11/18/2017 at 11:02 PM, Lady Barbrey said:

I like your OP and I agree with most of it except that the Boltons needed to have any supernatural powers just because they were a kingly line.  The flayed man sigil is intriguing, I agree; however, unlike the Warg, Barrow and Marsh Kings, there is no hint in the texts that the Boltons had anything extraordinary about them except perhaps cruelty. 

I always remind myself that WOIAF is a retro production, written after the fact to give us some ideas and hints as to how the past might have shaped present Westeros, particularly, in this section, what might be special about the Starks.  The Starks intermarried with the Warg, Barrow and Marsh Kings lines. Therefore some of their progeny might have greenseeing, skinchanging/warging and death-related magic.  We've seen two of the three in the kids, and might see the third, , because necromancy is established in the series, and it might be a bloodline thing as well.  He also carefully planted a Blackwood in Bloodraven's family tree, and then hinted at Blackwood roots in the north, the wolfwood so possible warg connections, to help explain why a Targaryan could become a greenseer.  Martin has given us a history we can trace those abilities back to.

But the Starks never intermarried as far as I can tell with the Boltons or Red Kings  or at least there is no mention of it, so to my mind WOIAF is saying the Starks got nothing from them, and since the Boltons themselves manifest nothing present day either, I'm just assuming there's nothing there.

That's not to say the Boltons could nof have intermarried with a few skinchangers themselves over the centuries.  Certainly berserker families like the Mormonts probably have a glimmer of the talent. In fact, with all the animal totem sigils in Westeros, one gets the sense that some kind of animal spirit bonding might have been quite well-spread among the First Men, but likely more in a shamanistic sense than full skinchanging.

The flayed man sigil is interesting in that sense because it is not an animal, which you would expect it to be if they were associated with skinchanging.  As a wild guess, I'd say it more hinted at an enmity between the Boltons and skinchanging families.  Animals are flayed and skinned. But in the case of men inhabiting the skins of wolves or bears, it's the men who'd be flayed as well symbolically.

 

Thanks for the vote of support, Lady.  Thinking back on what originated the topic in the 1st place, it was a study of the Boltons.   The leeches, the eyes like chips of dirty ice and the marked lack of mention of marriage between the Boltons and Starks.   We have no Bolton family tree and a sadly abbreviated Stark family tree.   Truth is we don't know if the Boltons married the Starks thousands of years ago or not.   We absolutely don't know if the conclusion I make is even plausible.  

As I stated above, I lumped these 4 Kings/families together because of the magical traits of the Warg, Marsh and Barrows kings. Why even bring up the Red kings with these folks if not because there is magic in the Boltons.    As @Lord Varysmentioned, the Starks brought the Glovers to heel and ran the Blackwoods out of the North.    The Boltons could have been mentioned there if we are not supposed to link the magic and families.   

I could be way off on the Boltons being skinchangers, but I am sort of hanging my hat on these 4 families being detailed together for a specific reason.   If I'm wrong it was a fun thing to ponder.   If I'm right it explains a lot about Roose Bolton that has upset me from the 1st read.   

Thanks so much for weighing in.  

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2 hours ago, Curled Finger said:

Could you elaborate on your statement about the magical traits of the Reeds being no special ability?   I'm thinking I've misunderstood something here.   

The point there is that the crannogmen essentially seem to be special as people. It comes with their way of life and their apparent closeness to the Children of the Forest. If it is something in their blood and ancestry (which could be - or not) then all crannogmen are likely to have it, not just the Reeds. Some more, some less.

And the Reeds themselves aren't of royal descent as far as we know. There were Kings in the Neck, at one point, but it is not clear that those kings were Reeds. All we know is that House Reed was given power in the Neck by the Starks after they had conquered it.

2 hours ago, Curled Finger said:

If the royal lines of the old Kings in the North were not magical, why mention them all together with the magical Barrows and Marsh Kings?

Again, no proof that the Marsh Kings were 'magical' as such. And the line of the Barrow Kings is basically over. The Dustins claim to be descendants of those people but they are basically extinct now, anyway. Lady Barbrey is no Dustin by birth.

2 hours ago, Curled Finger said:

You are reasonable and rational.  I understand the whole "we don't have enough information argument".   It's reasonable and rational.   At the risk of jumping to the wrong conclusion, what is the point of these conquests even being mentioned if not to explain the magic the Stark children have?   

If there is going to be an explanation for the magic of the Stark children - and I'm not sure we need such an explanation (they have a talent and make use of it - we don't need to know why they have that talent) - then that's going to be a plot point in the novels. And it is not going to be something as trivial as 'magic is in the blood' since that doesn't really explain anything, either. The Targaryens also have 'the blood of the dragon' yet only Daenerys could wake dragons from stone. Why is that? What made her more special than the others?

Vice versa, what caused all of Eddard Stark's children to be born skinchangers - and one of them even a powerful greenseer?

If there is an explanation for that, it could actually involve magical manipulation, etc. by the Children of the Forest and/or Bloodraven. Or perhaps even Bran himself if it turns out that he can reach through time. The Starks also didn't find those direwolf pups by accident, nor was the manner of death of the she-direwolf accidental. Even the fact that there were as many pups as Ned Stark had children appears to have been planned. Staging something like that shouldn't be that hard for a greenseer. Even a powerful skinchanger could do that. All he would need to do is control both animals at the same time and have them kill each other the way he wants them to.

 

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4 hours ago, Curled Finger said:

Thanks for the vote of support, Lady.  Thinking back on what originated the topic in the 1st place, it was a study of the Boltons.   The leeches, the eyes like chips of dirty ice and the marked lack of mention of marriage between the Boltons and Starks.   We have no Bolton family tree and a sadly abbreviated Stark family tree.   Truth is we don't know if the Boltons married the Starks thousands of years ago or not.   We absolutely don't know if the conclusion I make is even plausible.  

As I stated above, I lumped these 4 Kings/families together because of the magical traits of the Warg, Marsh and Barrows kings. Why even bring up the Red kings with these folks if not because there is magic in the Boltons.    As mentioned, the Starks brought the Glovers to heel and ran the Blackwoods out of the North.    The Boltons could have been mentioned there if we are not supposed to link the magic and families.   

I could be way off on the Boltons being skinchangers, but I am sort of hanging my hat on these 4 families being detailed together for a specific reason.   If I'm wrong it was a fun thing to ponder.   If I'm right it explains a lot about Roose Bolton that has upset me from the 1st read.   

Thanks so much for weighing in.  

A few small things come to mind for me here.

First is the "dirty chips of ice" description of Roose and Ramsay's eyes seem like a "bastard" version of the ice of the Starks are associated with. We also see this type of comparison between garnets and rubies as well, with the former thought to be the "bastard" version of the more royal ruby. Dirty chips of ice has faults, is impure.

I am a secret fan (don't tell anyone) of the idea that the Bolton's are envious of the Stark ability to skinchange/warg, and maybe they have this resentment because maybe way back in time the Boltons came from a Stark bastard (even though bastardy doesn't seem to be as much as much of an issue with the older first men generations), and the skinchanging/warg talent skipped that line of succession. This could be why in past history, the Red King Boltons were known to skin the Starks and to wear their skins as cloaks- which itself is a type of skinchanging. This could have been an attempt to absorb the skinchanging powers the "bastard" offspring missed out on. One of the reasons in the current story why Ramsay loathes the name Snow is that reminds him of being a bastard... a sort of familial memory.

ADDING: And if we remember, Ramsay wears a garnet blood drop earring in his ear. He carries the "bastard blood" with him regardless of his name change by the boy king.

Coincidentally, this near exact concept GRRM wrote about in his story The Skin Trade, if anyone is interested. Right down to Reek and four prominent families and oh so much more. Point being, this entire Ramsay/blood right/Jon thingy is on the author's mind ;)

Edited by The Fattest Leech

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House Bolton is found in the Age of Heroes.

Night's King lived during this time.

Old Nan says that he was a Stark. She says a lot of accurate stuff.

So what if: House Bolton is found from one of the children he had?* That makes them Stark bastards. The castle NK found was the Dreadfort. This name kind of resembles the Nightfort.

* It is said that Night's King sacrificed babies to Others (like Craster did). So his children were born as humans. So no, Roose is not an immortal Other, it's just happenes that he had (has?) distant ancestors/relatives among them, like other Westerosi/Beyond The Wall people have.

Night's King was defeated by a Stark King Of Winter, who joined forces with Joramun, a King Beyond The Wall.

And who sides with who now? To defeat who?

Jon Snow is the (possible) heir of the last King In The North, Robb Stark.

So Jon Snow (presumably legitimized Stark) is the legit King In the North who sides with the King Beyond The Wall, Mance Rayder (who symbolically at least, has Joramun's horn), to defeat the Night King's descendants, Roose and Ramsay Bolton (who also happens to be an ex-Snow).

History repeats itself. Only difference is that they changed names and places. The Night King's heirs took the home from the Starks, their relatives. It's not the Nightfort that will be abandoned and forgotten now. It will be the Dreadfort, with tales told about it from the future Old Nans. And the Bolton's name forbidden and forgotten...

...with a possible surviving offspring, which will survive the Winter and move more south, finding himself another castle. Something-Fort. 

Edited by The Sunland Lord

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On 11/6/2017 at 10:52 AM, The hairy bear said:

Curled Finger,

The Winter Kings, the Red Kings and the Marsh Kings are lines of kings. But, as far as we know, the Warg King was a single person.

He could have been a proto-ancestor of the Blackwood, but I very much doubt that he ever used this family name. And AWOIAF seems to suggest the Starks ended his line (all his sons were put to the sword). But I like the idea that the original River kingdom of House Blackwood was founded by the exiled supporters of the Warg King.

 

AWOIAF states that Warg King fell in Sea Dragon's Point defending "his last redoubt", suggesting that the Starks had been pushing him for some time. If the Starks came from Winterfell, and the Warg King controlled the entire wood, it makes perfect sense he would be cornered in Sea Dragon Point and would make his last stand there.

I do support this idea. The wolfswood has been described as a "very thick forest", and composed of oaks, sentinels and black brier.

Thanks Hairy Bear, this Warg King does appear to be a single person by overwhelming sound off.  I don't believe or not believe he was a Blackwood.    I just know there is something special about the Blackwoods and Bloodraven is very special among the magical in universe.  As someone above stated, we don't know the Warg King was killed.  If he wasn't ,it's got to give everyone pause regarding the fate of this magical person.  Then again, perhaps with the information available the maesters were wrong or misspoken and he was just the last--in the area.  The wording is very unusual and makes me sure there is more to this story.     

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23 hours ago, The Fattest Leech said:

A few small things come to mind for me here.

First is the "dirty chips of ice" description of Roose and Ramsay's eyes seem like a "bastard" version of the ice of the Starks are associated with. We also see this type of comparison between garnets and rubies as well, with the former thought to be the "bastard" version of the more royal ruby. Dirty chips of ice has faults, is impure.

I am a secret fan (don't tell anyone) of the idea that the Bolton's are envious of the Stark ability to skinchange/warg, and maybe they have this resentment because maybe way back in time the Boltons came from a Stark bastard (even though bastardy doesn't seem to be as much as much of an issue with the older first men generations), and the skinchanging/warg talent skipped that line of succession. This could be why in past history, the Red King Boltons were known to skin the Starks and to wear their skins as cloaks- which itself is a type of skinchanging. This could have been an attempt to absorb the skinchanging powers the "bastard" offspring missed out on. One of the reasons in the current story why Ramsay loathes the name Snow is that reminds him of being a bastard... a sort of familial memory.

ADDING: And if we remember, Ramsay wears a garnet blood drop earring in his ear. He carries the "bastard blood" with him regardless of his name change by the boy king.

Coincidentally, this near exact concept GRRM wrote about in his story The Skin Trade, if anyone is interested. Right down to Reek and four prominent families and oh so much more. Point being, this entire Ramsay/blood right/Jon thingy is on the author's mind ;)

Beautiful connections and a very nice theory.    I can't curse you this time, that was all good!   Thanks, Leech. 

There is definitely something having to do with skin between the Starks and Boltons.   

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21 hours ago, The Sunland Lord said:

House Bolton is found in the Age of Heroes.

Night's King lived during this time.

Old Nan says that he was a Stark. She says a lot of accurate stuff.

So what if: House Bolton is found from one of the children he had?* That makes them Stark bastards. The castle NK found was the Dreadfort. This name kind of resembles the Nightfort.

* It is said that Night's King sacrificed babies to Others (like Craster did). So his children were born as humans. So no, Roose is not an immortal Other, it's just happenes that he had (has?) distant ancestors/relatives among them, like other Westerosi/Beyond The Wall people have.

Night's King was defeated by a Stark King Of Winter, who joined forces with Joramun, a King Beyond The Wall.

And who sides with who now? To defeat who?

Jon Snow is the (possible) heir of the last King In The North, Robb Stark.

So Jon Snow (presumably legitimized Stark) is the legit King In the North who sides with the King Beyond The Wall, Mance Rayder (who symbolically at least, has Joramun's horn), to defeat the Night King's descendants, Roose and Ramsay Bolton (who also happens to be an ex-Snow).

History repeats itself. Only difference is that they changed names and places. The Night King's heirs took the home from the Starks, their relatives. It's not the Nightfort that will be abandoned and forgotten now. It will be the Dreadfort, with tales told about it from the future Old Nans. And the Bolton's name forbidden and forgotten...

...with a possible surviving offspring, which will survive the Winter and move more south, finding himself another castle. Something-Fort. 

I love a good theory and I have to hand it to you, Sunland Lord, that is the most detail I've ever read regarding Bolton = NK theory.   Thanks a million for that.    I also like your spin turning history around.   I have always imagined there was some connection between the Night Fort and the Dreadfort, but I couldn't put it together.  Well done all the way around and kudos for the reminder to all that the Red Kings existed during the Age of Heroes.   Folks forget.   

I won't pull any of it apart, Man.   You put a logical story together and I thank you for it.   

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Personally, I´m not sure to what extent skichanging has to do with "special bloodlines". It may be that some peoples are more prone to produce skinchangers than others, but it may be something that is natural to all the humanoid species on Planetos, but to homo sapiens to a much lesser degree than to the Children of the Forest.

Bloodraven, for one, does not specify that is has anything to do with the Starks or the Blackwoods or or the First Men in general. He includes in his statistcs all humans, it seems:

Quote

"Only one man in a thousand is born a skinchanger," Lord Brynden said one day, after Bran had learned to fly, "and only one skinchanger in a thousand can be a greenseer."

Another good source is Varamyr, and he informs us that in spite of impregnating several women, he has yet not been able to sire a single skinchanger child, albeit he´s a very strong and skilled skinchanger himself and the children in question seem to have inherired his other traits:

Quote

Before Mance, Varamyr Sixskins had been a lord of sorts. He lived alone in a hall of moss and mud and hewn logs that had once been Haggon's, attended by his beasts. A dozen villages did him homage in bread and salt and cider, offering him fruit from their orchards and vegetables from their gardens. His meat he got himself. Whenever he desired a woman he sent his shadowcat to stalk her, and whatever girl he'd cast his eye upon would follow meekly to his bed. Some came weeping, aye, but still they came. Varamyr gave them his seed, took a hank of their hair to remember them by, and sent them back. From time to time, some village hero would come with spear in hand to slay the beastling and save a sister or a lover or a daughter. Those he killed, but he never harmed the women. Some he even blessed with children. Runts. Small, puny things, like Lump, and not one with the gift.

It seems strange, because the skinchangers we know have connection to the First Men to a stronger or lesser degree, but it is also truth that pretty much everybody in Westeros is descended from the First Men in some fashion, so it may not be the important criterion, and it´s not like if there is a great many skinchangers between the wildlings. There are a lot of them in comparison to other peoples, but I think that the 1:1000 ratio holds up comfortably. It may be that they seem exceptional only because they have been able to built a sort of a community.

Anyway, neither Ned or Catelyn show any suspicious closeness to animals in their POV, and all of their five children are skinchangers (and one is a greenseer), and so is Jon. Lyanna was suppposed to be "half a horse" in regards to her being a good rider, but I think it is merely another clue for her as the knight of the Laughing Tree rather than for skinchanging running in the family. Especially as it is added in the same breath that Domeric Bolton was an even better rider than her.

Crackpot time: mentally time-travelling greenseer Bran is the only original skinchanger in his family, but he travelled through time and via magical shenanigans stole the inborn magic of Varamyr´s children and gave it to his siblings.:blink:

As for the Dustins and co, I think there is a chance that certain kinds of magic can be learned or mastered in certain circumstances, although the performing person is not otherwise in possession of magical gifts. People like the pyromancers, Thoros, Qyburn, maegis... were they born with a talent for magic or were they taught it? It is one of the reasons why I am enthusiatic about Melisandre´s POV, because she may actually shed some light on how red temples select their priests and priestesses. If just any child will do or if they have to search for the few that had been born with magical talents ala the Force-sensitive from the Star Wars universe. Its seems clear that something of that kind is going on with skinchanging, but is it true of all the magic? Getting access to lore may enough to become a maegi or a pyromancer and it may be even enough for whatever stuff the Hightowers or the Barrow Kings practise(d).

Alternatively, it may some kind of combination: anyone can lears bits of magic, but only those with a strong magical potential can become truly powerful through it. Should we put trust into the ancient accounts in TWoIaF, that could explain how the ancient Starks managed to beat the Barrow Kings despite of all those curses etc: there was a magically weak(er) heir that was not able to preserve the curse or some piece of the important knowledge was not passed down due to an early death in the family or something of that kind.

 It may also happen that as the magic grows ever stronger, more and more people will discover their latent magical gifts such as skinchanging or clairvoyance that they had been able to supress or not to notice at all until now.

Edited by lojzelote

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I thought the Warg King was Gaven Greywolf, and he was killed in the War of the Wolves. 

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