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Black Crow

Heresy 205 bats and little green men

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3 hours ago, Black Crow said:

I think that a more reasonable interpretation of the curse is that it applies quite narrowly to Harren's castle; to his building it exactly where he did and to the cutting down of the weirwoods, and to the blood that went into it.

Once again to quote Jennet Clouston:

Blood built it, blood stopped the building of it, and blood will bring it down. Black will be its fall.

I've quoted it in the past as applying to the Wall, but the same curse might also fit Harrenhal

Harrenhal in way reminds me of the " Winchester house.

Interesting read on it and very present is theme " blood build it".

A weapon that spilt much blood

A woman 

And a home for the spirits to dwell.

 

The link is taking us to the tour so Papa Crow forgive the long story.

 


The story of the Winchester House began in September 1839 with the birth of a baby girl to Leonard and Sarah Pardee of New Haven, Connecticut. The baby’s name was also Sarah and as she reached maturity, she became the belle of the city. She was well-received at all social events, thanks to her musical skills, her fluency in various foreign languages and her sparkling charm. Her beauty was also well-known by the young men about town, despite her diminutive size. Although she was petite and stood only four feet, ten inches, she made up for this in personality and loveliness.

At the same time that Sarah was growing up, a young man was also maturing in another prominent New Haven family. The young man’s name was William Wirt Winchester and he was the son of Oliver Winchester, a shirt manufacturer and businessman. In 1857, he took over the assets of a firm which made the Volcanic Repeater, a rifle that used a lever mechanism to load bullets into the breech.

Obviously, this type of gun was a vast improvement over the muzzle-loading rifles of recent times, but Winchester still saw room for advance. In 1860, the company developed the Henry Rifle, which had a tubular magazine located under the barrel. Because it was easy to reload and could fire rapidly, the Henry was said to average one shot every three seconds. It became the first true repeating rifle and a favorite among the Northern troops at the outbreak of the Civil War.

Money began to pour in and Oliver Winchester soon amassed a large fortune from government contracts and private sales. He re-organized the company and changed the name to the Winchester Repeating Arms Company.  The family prospered and on September 30, 1862, at the height of the Civil War, William Wirt Winchester and Sarah Pardee were married in an elaborate ceremony in New Haven.

Four years later, on July 15, 1866, Sarah gave birth to a daughter named Annie Pardee Winchester. Just a short time later, the first disaster struck for Sarah, as her daughter contracted an illness known as "marasmus", a children’s disease in which the body wastes away. The infant died on July 24. Sarah was so shattered by this event that she withdrew into herself and teetered on the edge of madness for some time. In the end, it would be nearly a decade before she returned to her normal self but she and William would never have a another child.

Not long after Sarah returned to her family and home, another tragedy struck. William, now heir to the Winchester empire, was struck down with pulmonary tuberculosis. He died on March 7, 1881.  As a result of his death, Sarah inherited over $20 million dollars, an incredible sum, especially in those days. She also received 48.9 percent of the Winchester Repeating Arms Company and an income of about $1000 per day, which was not taxable until 1913.

But her new-found wealth could do nothing to ease her pain. Sarah grieved deeply, not only for her husband, but also for her lost child. A short time later, a friend suggested that Sarah might speak to a Spiritualist medium about her loss. "Your husband is here," the medium told her and then went on to provide a description of William Winchester. "He says for me to tell you that there is a curse on your family, which took the life of he and your child. It will soon take you too.

It is a curse that has resulted from the terrible weapon created by the Winchester family. Thousands of persons have died because of it and their spirits are now seeking vengeance."

Sarah was then told that she must sell her property in New Haven and head towards the setting sun. She would be guided by her husband and when she found her new home in the west, she would recognize it.

  "You must start a new life," said the medium, "and build a home for yourself and for the spirits who have fallen from this terrible weapon too. You can never stop building the house. If you continue building, you will live. Stop and you will die."

Shortly after the seance, Sarah sold her home in New Haven and with a vast fortune at her disposal, moved west to California. She believed that she was guided by the hand of her dead husband and she did not stop traveling until she reached the Santa Clara Valley in 1884. Here, she found a six room home under construction which belonged to a Dr. Caldwell. She entered into negotiations with him and soon convinced him to sell her the house and the 162 acres which it rested on.  She tossed away any previous plans for the house and started building whatever she chose to. She had her pick of local workers and craftsmen and for the next 36 years, they built and rebuilt, altered and changed and constructed and demolished one section of the house after another. She kept 22 carpenters at work, year around, 24 hours each day.  The sounds of hammers and saws sounded throughout the day and night.

As the house grew to include 26 rooms, railroad cars were switched onto a nearby line to bring building materials and imported furnishings to the house. The house was rapidly growing and expanding and while Sarah claimed to have no master plan for the structure, she met each morning with her foreman and they would go over the her hand-sketched plans for the day’s work. The plans were often chaotic but showed a real flair for building. Sometimes though, they would not work out the right way, but Sarah always had a quick solution. If this happened, they would just build another room around an existing one.

As the days, weeks and months passed, the house continued to grow. Rooms were added to rooms and then turned into entire wings, doors were joined to windows, levels turned into towers and peaks and the place eventually grew to a height of seven stories. Inside of the house, three elevators were installed as were 47 fireplaces. There were countless staircases which led nowhere; a blind chimney that stops short of the ceiling; closets that opened to blank walls; trap doors; double-back hallways; skylights that were located one above another; doors that opened to steep drops to the lawn below; and dozens of other oddities. Even all of the stair posts were installed upside-down and many of the bathrooms had glass doors on them.

It was also obvious that Sarah was intrigued by the number "13". Nearly all of the windows contained 13 panes of glass; the walls had 13 panels; the greenhouse had 13 cupolas; many of the wooden floors contained 13 sections; some of the rooms had 13 windows and every staircase but one had 13 steps. This exception is unique in its own right.... it is a winding staircase with 42 steps, which would normally be enough to take a climber up three stories. In this case, however, the steps only rise nine feet because each step is only two inches high.

While all of this seems like madness to us, it all made sense to Sarah. In this way, she could control the spirits who came to the house for evil purposes, or who were outlaws or vengeful people in their past life. These bad men, killed by Winchester rifles, could wreak havoc on Sarah’s life. The house had been designed into a maze to confuse and discourage the bad spirits.

The house continued to grow and by 1906, it had reached a towering seven stories tall. Sarah continued her occupancy, and expansion, of the house, living in melancholy solitude with no one other than her servants, the workmen and, of course, the spirits. It was said that on sleepless nights, when she was not communing with the spirit world about the designs for the house, Sarah would play her grand piano into the early hours of the morning. According to legend, the piano would be admired by passers-by on the street outside, despite the fact that two of the keys were badly out of tune.

The most tragic event occurred within the house when the great San Francisco Earthquake of 1906 struck. When it was all over, portions of the Winchester Mansion were nearly in ruins. The top three floors of the house had collapsed into the gardens and would never be rebuilt. In addition, the fireplace that was located in the Daisy Room (where Mrs. Winchester was sleeping on the night of the earthquake) collapsed, shifting the room and trapping Sarah inside. She became convinced that the earthquake had been a sign from the spirits who were furious that she had nearly completed the house. In order to insure that the house would never be finished, she decided to board up the front 30 rooms of the mansion so that the construction would not be complete - and also so that the spirits who fell when portion of the house collapsed would be trapped inside forever.

For the next several months, the workmen toiled to repair the damage done by the earthquake, although actually the mammoth structure had fared far better than most of the buildings in the area. Only a few of the rooms had been badly harmed, although it had lost the highest floors and several cupolas and towers had toppled over. The expansion on the house began once more. The number of bedrooms increased from 15 to 20 and then to 25. Chimneys were installed all over the place, although strangely, they served no purpose. Some believe that perhaps they were added because the old stories say that ghosts like to appear and disappear through them. On a related note, it has also been documented that only 2 mirrors were installed in the house.... Sarah believed that ghosts were afraid of their own reflection.

On September 4, 1922, after a conference session with the spirits in the seance room, Sarah went to her bedroom for the night. At some point in the early morning hours, she died in her sleep at the age of 83. She left all of her possessions to her niece, Frances Marriot, who had been handling most of Sarah’s business affairs for some time.  Little did anyone know, but by this time, Sarah’s large bank account had dwindled considerably. Rumor had it that somewhere in the house was hidden a safe containing a fortune in jewelry and a solid-gold dinner service with which Sarah had entertained her ghostly guests. Her relatives forced open a number of safes but found only old fishlines, socks, newspaper clippings about her daughter’s and her husband’s deaths, a lock of baby hair, and a suit of woolen underwear. No solid gold dinner service was ever discovered.

The furnishings, personal belongings and surplus construction and decorative materials were removed from the house and the structure itself was sold to a group of investors who planned to use it as a tourist attraction. One of the first to see the place when it opened to the public was Robert L. Ripley, who featured the house in his popular column, "Believe it or Not." The house was initially advertised as being 148 rooms, but so confusing was the floor plan that every time a room count was taken, a different total came up. The place was so puzzling that it was said that the workmen took more than six weeks just to get the furniture out of it. The moving men became so lost because it was a "labyrinth", they told the magazine, American Weekly, in 1928. It was a house "where downstairs leads neither to the cellar nor upstairs to the roof." The rooms of the house were counted over and over again and five years later, it was estimated that 160 rooms existed..... although no one is really sure if even that is correct.

Today, the house has been declared a California Historical Landmark and is registered with the National Park Service as "a large, odd dwelling with an unknown number of rooms."

Most would say that such a place must still harbor at least a few of the ghosts who came to reside there at the invitation of Sarah Winchester. The question is though, do they really haunt the place? Some would say that perhaps no ghosts ever walked there at all.... that the Winchester mansion is nothing more than the product of an eccentric woman’s mind and too much wealth being allowed into the wrong hands.

Edited by wolfmaid7

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Your thread and Pretty Pigs are very close in topic right now. I just posted the inverted parallels between the Long Night and Harren's castle. Think about how north of the Wall the dead can rise as wights when the cold air rises, and the dead can rise in the Riverlands when fire is breathed into their lungs.

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3 hours ago, Black Crow said:

I think that a more reasonable interpretation of the curse is that it applies quite narrowly to Harren's castle; to his building it exactly where he did and to the cutting down of the weirwoods, and to the blood that went into it.

It's possible.  But I think it's much simpler than that.  

Despite being a ruin, this is by far the largest castle in Westeros, an incredible status symbol, and it comes paired with rich, extensive lands.  So there has always been competition for it, and that competition has manifested in bloody terms.  

Unless you have the power and wealth of the Lannisters, the Targaryens, or similar, you are in deep trouble from the day you assume command of it.  Littlefinger -- nowhere close to that level -- may learn this in books to come.

3 hours ago, SirArthur said:

From a more earthly perspective, it is entirely possible to explain a "curse" with radioactivity. And radioactivity has rules when it comes to range, strength and so on. At least the fertility problems around Harrenhal can be explained this way.

Well, Tyrion seems to perceive it as quite fertile at the time he pitches it to Littlefinger:

Quote

Harrenhal was one of the richest plums in the Seven Kingdoms, its lands broad and rich and fertile, its great castle as formidable as any in the realm . . . and so large as to dwarf Riverrun

This seems to me more like a status symbol than a cursed place, which Tyrion knows and is counting on.  Littlefinger is nothing if not status-hungry, so Tyrion knows Harrenhal will be irresistible to him.  And Tyrion is right.

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3 hours ago, Matthew. said:

a means by which we might more narrowly define "cursed" or blessed locations: sites where the Pact has been violated or honored, respectively.

This is an interesting definition, though I think such a curse wouldn't be limited to the lands associated with 300-year-old Harrenhal by any means.  

Quote

There they forged the Pact. The First Men were given the coastlands, the high plains and bright meadows, the mountains and bogs, but the deep woods were to remain forever the children's, and no more weirwoods were to be put to the axe anywhere in the realm.

Going by this definition, the curse (violation of the Pact) would apply to virtually the entire south, going back all the thousands of years to the Andal invasion.  And in particular, it would apply to High Heart.

However, just to play devil's advocate against my own case... how do we know the Isle of Faces has remained safe?

How do we know Harren didn't in fact cut down all the many weirwoods on it as fodder for his massive castle?  Wouldn't the Isle have been just as holy as High Heart, or still holier, and thus, even more curse-relevant?  

The World book seems to imply no such thing ever happened, but the World book is... as GRRM said, while chuckling... not something we can trust.

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19 minutes ago, JNR said:

This is an interesting definition, though I think such a curse wouldn't be limited to the lands associated with 300-year-old Harrenhal by any means.  

Going by this definition, the curse (violation of the Pact) would apply to virtually the entire south, going back all the thousands of years to the Andal invasion.  And in particular, it would apply to High Heart.

However, just to play devil's advocate against my own case... how do we know the Isle of Faces has remained safe?

How do we know Harren didn't in fact cut down all the many weirwoods on it as fodder for his massive castle?  Wouldn't the Isle have been just as holy as High Heart, or still holier, and thus, even more curse-relevant?  

The World book seems to imply no such thing ever happened, but the World book is... as GRRM said, while chuckling... not something we can trust.

The building of Harrenhal was a big fuck-you to the old gods, and the old gods brought in fire magic to destroy them by way of Aegon the Conqueror.

The Harrenhal tourney was like dancing on their graves.

The inverted parallels to the Long Night are taking shape - at least to me.

Edited by Feather Crystal

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1 hour ago, JNR said:

Well, Tyrion seems to perceive it as quite fertile at the time he pitches it to Littlefinger:

This seems to me more like a status symbol than a cursed place, which Tyrion knows and is counting on.  Littlefinger is nothing if not status-hungry, so Tyrion knows Harrenhal will be irresistible to him.  And Tyrion is right.

Not the fertility of the surrounding land - rather the fertility of the people living in it. It is almost as if Aeryn II ruled over it. All those miscarriages and killed sons. This may even be the reason for the tourney at Harrenhal: get rid of the curse that has fallen on house Targaryen.

Maybe that is the deal of "The queen of love and beauty". 

Edited by SirArthur

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3 minutes ago, SirArthur said:

Not the fertility of the surrounding land - rather the fertility of the people living in it. It is almost as if Aeryn II ruled over it. All those miscarriages and killed sons. This may even be the reason for the tourney at Harrenhal: get rid of the curse that has fallen on house Targaryen.

Maybe that is the deal of "The queen of love and beauty". 

If the Children invited the Targaryens to serve as their fire weapon against Harren the Black, then the Tourney of Harrenhal was, as Pretty Pig put it, "mocking" the gods. It was actually worse than mocking. It was like dancing on the graves of all the dead Children and their greenseers.

There was no curse on the Targaryens, but rather a plot to rid them conjured up by the Andals and the Citadel. I know I don't have a lot of believers in my theories, but I'm fairly confident that the looming giant with the helmet full of black blood is a collective of knights that have hid behind honor and valor to do the church's bidding. Sandor Clegane represents the truth behind the armor. He knew what he was, and he ridiculed the hypocrisy of other knights, especially the Kingsguard. IMO there was a conspiracy by the Faith/Citadel to rid the Targaryens and replace them with an Andal king. They were successful, and it's their narrative that pushes the story that Rhaegar kidnapped Lyanna. Whether he raped her or loved her doesn't matter to the church. All they cared about was whether or not the people of Westeros believed the story so that they could claim the throne by conquest.

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8 minutes ago, Feather Crystal said:

They were successful, and it's their narrative that pushes the story that Rhaegar kidnapped Lyanna.

It doesn't matter what story we believe. Someone had a reason to set up a tourney at Harrenhal. Before the events surrounding Lyanna. And after Aerys II lost so many children. 

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1 hour ago, JNR said:

Going by this definition, the curse (violation of the Pact) would apply to virtually the entire south, going back all the thousands of years to the Andal invasion.  And in particular, it would apply to High Heart.

However, just to play devil's advocate against my own case... how do we know the Isle of Faces has remained safe?

As to the latter, you could be right--all we really know about the present state of the Isle is that, supposedly, there are still Green Men there, and Howland spent some time with them; however, they could just be the sad remnants of a failed organization, sitting on an island of stumps.

As to the former though, I definitely have some thoughts (I've been internally gnawing on some ideas about the nature of the Pact and the broken seasons), and I agree that those places should be cursed, though I think there is a potential caveat: how the Andal invasion is perceived in relation to the Pact might not be straightforward, and I personally don't believe the CotF expected all humans on Planetos to adhere to its terms. 

High Heart is not perceived as cursed, per se, but we do get mixed perceptions of the place, which again may come down to subjectivity: it is, on the one hand, said to have lingering magic that affords a traveler safe sleep, but on the other hand, it is shunned by the locals as a haunted site. 

I think there's probably an element of confirmation bias on the part of the in-world characters: they feel a true discomfort in certain places that is linked to lingering CotF magic (indeed, Bran's ADWD chapters might suggest that some places are literally haunted), and then anytime something bad happens they correlate it to the unsettled feeling, and declare the location cursed. 

Thus, I'm inclined to dismiss my own suggestion that the nature of these sites correlates to how well the Pact was honored (IMO, it is already catastrophically broken, and remains catastrophically broken), and instead suggest that these sites are neither cursed nor blessed--they're just strongly imprinted by former CotF/old god presence.

Edited by Matthew.

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34 minutes ago, SirArthur said:

It doesn't matter what story we believe. Someone had a reason to set up a tourney at Harrenhal. Before the events surrounding Lyanna. And after Aerys II lost so many children. 

Yes! This is what I’ve been trying to explain! There was a northern alliance that was, in my opinion, pushed by Tywin, but Jon Arryn, Steffon Baratheon, and Hoster Tully were all Andals and of the Faith too. Rickard somehow got wrangled in, maybe by Maester Walys. Maybe Maester Pycelle was poisoning Rhaella?

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I remember a theory that Hardhome was the Valaryians first invasion of Westerous,  ended by people who skinchangers their dragons.

What if Greenseers were the reason the Targaryans were scared to invade, and Harren wiped out the threat, opening the door to invasion?   The Targaryans weren't responding to any sort of call for help or vengeance,  just given the opportunity.

Did the weirwood rafters survive the fire?  Could the old gods still be alive in the structure,  literally making Harrenhal full of their spirits.

I do remember GRRM being asked why Howland Reed or the green men weren't POV characters or directly involved with the POV characters in their chapters, and if they would be.  GRRM said they couldn't be present since they knew things the reader can't know yet, but would eventually appear.  I assumed this had something to do with Jon's parentage or maybe Bran becoming a Greenseer,  but now I wonder if Harrenhal might be why.

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5 hours ago, Matthew. said:

all we really know about the present state of the Isle is that, supposedly, there are still Green Men there, and Howland spent some time with them; however, they could just be the sad remnants of a failed organization, sitting on an island of stumps

This reminds me to petition Google to include Westeros on maps.google.com.

Once that happens, we can just type "Isle of Faces" and zoom in by clicking + to find out whether there are still weirwoods there or not.

3 hours ago, Brad Stark said:

Did the weirwood rafters survive the fire?  Could the old gods still be alive in the structure,  literally making Harrenhal full of their spirits.

I would think some would have survived... and as to the old gods, that doesn't seem too far-fetched either.

Because I'm sure we all recall that it was on a weirwood stump that Jaime rested his head, and yet stump or not stump, he still had the prophetic dream of Brienne in the bearpit that was so persuasive to him, he got the group turned around to go back and rescue her.  Maybe he would have anyway with an oak stump or a down pillow, but maybe not.

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Why would HE dream of Brienne ? Or turned around ? Why would anyone send the dream to Jaime of all targets ? Or turned around again: Is Jaime a greenseer ? Why him ? And if he is, how will normal people be influenced by dead weirwood ? Or turned around again ? If all people have the ability what is the point of the gift ? 

And even if there is a huge cave full of little green man under Harrenhal, how can they reach dead weirwood several floors over the ground ? The puzzle is not complete. 

 

And yes. I can see JNR's point (or rather extend it), that we all connect things to weirwoods and dreams even if they would happened anyway. And if all is the cause of external influence, then there is no character development. It is so much more powerful if Jaime would have done it anyway, without magic trees, dreams, and little men whispering to all the characters what to do.

Edited by SirArthur

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10 hours ago, SirArthur said:

It doesn't matter what story we believe. Someone had a reason to set up a tourney at Harrenhal...

Indeed, but I'm far more inclined to look at the reason as being political rather than mystical; an opportunity for conspirators and more importantly perhaps different factions to meet, with the business of the winter roses being an overture by Rhaegar not to a young lady he'd suddenly [very suddenly] become infatuated with, but to House Stark and the northern conspiracy being woven together by the Blessed St. Jon of Arryn.

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Let's make another, much more simplistic, approach on the bats. Cat's mother was a Whent and Cat turned into a "bloodthirsty" undead soaking the life out of House Frey. Much like a vampire. The bats ar just forshadowing and the case is closed ? 

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3 hours ago, Black Crow said:

Not with Ser Shadrich still on the loose

Maybe the mouse is "only a cat of a different coat" then. :D

However that said, @Feather Crystal's comparisons are about Shadrich as a Symbol for Harrenhal. I don't agree. Unlike the real world, locations in Westeros rarely have sigils and signs on their own. In most cases they have family coat of arms, interweaved with the location through the long centuries (or more) families rule. 

Harrenhal is a good example to discuss this, as it is a brand new castle for westerosy terms. In the first 150 years no coat of arms was connected with bats. So if bats are connected to Harrenhal they have to have been there before the Hoares. 

conclusion 1: If bats are a sign for Harrenhal, there is a structure inside Harrenhal or a known history that predates the castle. 

conclusion 2: If this is the case, a bat as are sigil can be compared to a laughing tree as a sigil. 

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Lothston and Whent are relatively new houses and could have taken bats as sigils because bats were associated with Harrenhal first.

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2 hours ago, Brad Stark said:

Lothston and Whent are relatively new houses and could have taken bats as sigils because bats were associated with Harrenhal first.

I think that's the by far most likely explanation for their sigils being so similar.

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9 hours ago, SirArthur said:

Why would HE dream of Brienne ? Or turned around ? Why would anyone send the dream to Jaime of all targets ? Or turned around again: Is Jaime a greenseer ?

Well, I doubt anyone sent him a dream.

I think whether he admits it to himself or not, by this point Jaime cares about and respects Brienne.  We see hints of this earlier, such as

Quote

He floated in heat, in memory. "After dancing griffins lost the Battle of the Bells, Aerys exiled him." Why am I telling this absurd ugly child?

That's a good question he asks himself, but he does keep talking... and at surprising length.  So at some level, he doesn't really consider her an absurd ugly child.  And obviously if he didn't care about her, his dream of her being in trouble would mean nothing to him.  Instead it's a big deal to him.

However, I don't believe he's a greenseer or anything like that.  It seems to be something more low-key and personal -- that his unconcious dreaming mind goes in directions of significance to itself, that involve both past and future.   We find him dreaming of Casterly Rock, the deaths of Rickard and Brandon, the other KG, himself with Brienne facing threats, a burning sword, etc.

The weirwood stump may or may not be involved, as an aspect of the weirnet, in pulling aspects of the future into this dream in a hazy and difficult to analyze way.  I think GRRM is inviting us to consider that in pointing out it was indeed a white stump.

Notice the same principle would apply to the Ghost of High Heart... who lives where there are 31 weirwood stumps, and frequently has symbolic dreams of future events concerning information she could not possibly get any normal way.  

Exposure to weirwood can't always yield this outcome, though, or the whole canon would be shot through with such cases.   So however this works, it's not tidy.

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