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Black Crow

Heresy 207 :skinchanging

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In his dream of fighting on the Wall Jon sees himself wearing armour of black ice, but is it really black or being ice is it not translucent and likely "to change color as it moved; here it was white as new-fallen snow, there black as shadow, everywhere dappled with the deep grey-green of the trees. The patterns ran like moonlight on the water with every step it took." If he's atop the Wall amidst black-clad men and especially if its night, what colour will that icy armour generally reflect?

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20 minutes ago, Black Crow said:

I disagree with the last bit. I think that the Starks gained the warging ability through their allegiance to the Ice, and lost it when the pact was broken. Now they are being offered it again through the wolves.

“Ice” is magic, and it’s the Others that do miraculous things with ice. The Starks got Winterfell, so they were the victors. Magic was contained and sealed in the Wall, but the Starks never lost their warg abilities. It’s part of their genetic makeup. Their gift can only be realized if they have direwolves. Skinchanging isn’t magic. The wildlings have skin changers too. Magic was released only recently, but this has nothing to do with the innate ability to warg.

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18 hours ago, Black Crow said:

I'd like to make a couple more observations on Jon's, or rather Ghost's, reaction to the offer of Winterfell,

First, it points up how strongly Jon is bound to both Winterfell and the Old Gods. As Maester Aemon proclaimed he is a son of Winterfell and no dusty parchment or any other "proof" will turn him into a Targaryen prince, far less Azor Ahai.

The only question is whether Jon is being used and is the means of entry by the Old Gods into Winterfell and what lies below.

That may be unnecessarily complicating matters but Jojen's explanation that in skinchanging the warg is in the wolf and the wolf in the warg is borne out by Ghost/Jon's reaction to Stannis offer and prompts me to think again about Mel's attempts to read the tea-leaves.

Jon and Bran are both told that once a familiar has been ridden something of the skinchanger stays behind.  Varamyr says as much about Orell's eagle.  So the question is whether Ghost's reaction to Winterfell is an echo of Jon's desires or someone else who has controlled Ghost in the past.

18 hours ago, Black Crow said:

In one of her sessions she is startled to encounter the enemy, in the shape of a weirwood face and a boy who turns into a wolf, and howls. Conventionally these are identified as Bloodraven and Bran respectively, but they may in fact be Bran [tree] and Jon [wolf] instead.

Bran is unquestionably a warg but he's not the only one in town. He does use Summer, but only because he is handy and convenient. Bran is more effectively linked to the trees. Its how he communicates with Jon and unless something changes dramatically he will eventually go into the trees as Bryn Blackwood did.

Jon on the other hand is very closely linked to Ghost and we have seen him become the wolf in his blind fighting fury and in the episode under discussion. He switches back and forth with the wolf in a way that we don't really see Bran doing. It may, rightly, be objected of course that Mel sees a "boy" not Jon [who she does see in the tea-leaves], but we also have the business of kill the boy and let the man be born. At the time of this particular session Jon has not yet been killed.

We haven't seen Jon doing any howling as yet; but Bran certainly has done so.  I'm inclined to stick with Bran as the boy with the wolf head although the idea that this may be Bran and Jon is intriguing.  Mel has this vision when she is looking for the Great Other and if the vision is coming from Him of Fire, then I take it that she is being shown the Great Other.  This includes the face of a man that she doesn't know but rejects because he doesn't fit her notion that the enemy should have a fearsome countenance.  Which leads me to think that she is seeing Hodor/Bran.  So my guess is that she sees Bran as a wolf-boy and while skinchanging Hodor but can't see what lies beneath.   Bran's association with the tree is another of his guises and of course Jojen refers to Bran as an old man.

Naming the ancient enemy the Great Other certainly makes an association with ice and the Others/White Walkers just as Davos refers to the Great Dragon on the fire side.  Melding with the weirwood and it's ancient knowledge would certainly transform Bran into something that is ancient.  

Ghost has been established as a conduit for Bran to communicate with Jon during the Tree-Bran and Ghost-Jon encounter.  So I can see Jon acting as an extension of Bran.       

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On 4/6/2018 at 8:28 AM, MaesterSam said:

What's even more curious is that in Dany's Wake the Dragon dream she is at the Trident, and her enemies are armored all in ice. She then melts them. :devil:

I'm not really sure these are Dany's memories or thoughts.  She seems like a passenger, the smaller part and the voice remembering the nightmare of the Trident is something else - the dominant part of the dragon. 

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I when Melisandre sees the weirwood face and the boy wolf that howls, she also sees eyes all around them. Bloodraven is said to have a thousand eyes and one. This is a clear connection to him.

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31 minutes ago, LynnS said:

Jon and Bran are both told that once a familiar has been ridden something of the skinchanger stays behind.  Varamyr says as much about Orell's eagle.  So the question is whether Ghost's reaction to Winterfell is an echo of Jon's desires or someone else who has controlled Ghost in the past.

I agree with this. 

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1 hour ago, Feather Crystal said:

I when Melisandre sees the weirwood face and the boy wolf that howls, she also sees eyes all around them. Bloodraven is said to have a thousand eyes and one. This is a clear connection to him.

This is what BR says about it:

Quote

A Dance with Dragons - Bran III

"I thought the greenseers were the wizards of the children," Bran said. "The singers, I mean."

"In a sense. Those you call the children of the forest have eyes as golden as the sun, but once in a great while one is born amongst them with eyes as red as blood, or green as the moss on a tree in the heart of the forest. By these signs do the gods mark those they have chosen to receive the gift. The chosen ones are not robust, and their quick years upon the earth are few, for every song must have its balance. But once inside the wood they linger long indeed. A thousand eyes, a hundred skins, wisdom deep as the roots of ancient trees. Greenseers."

He's talking about those that have gone before him and become part of the tree.  They are the thousand eyes and hundred skins rather than BR specifically, I think.  But the cave is also full of crows and ravens.

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21 hours ago, Black Crow said:

I think what we can extrapolate is that dreams and visions in GRRM's world are not to be interpreted simply or rather literally.

Certainly always that.  

But simply thinking dreams are tricksy things doesn't get us much closer to figuring out puzzles.   We can do quite a bit better with dreams like Jaime's in ASOS, or Bran's coma dream in AGOT, than we can with this one (IMO at least) because this one is so relatively new to the canon, we have yet to see how future canon plays it out (or doesn't).

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21 hours ago, Black Crow said:

The only question is whether Jon is being used and is the means of entry by the Old Gods into Winterfell and what lies below.

Not sure what you mean.  Are you saying the old gods have previously had no means of entry to Winterfell, and wanted it?   

If so, how do you reconcile that idea with Bran so easily accessing the memories of the Winterfell heart tree?  The weirwoods, the greenseers, and the old gods certainly appear to be all closely tied up with each other.

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21 minutes ago, JNR said:

Not sure what you mean.  Are you saying the old gods have previously had no means of entry to Winterfell, and wanted it?   

If so, how do you reconcile that idea with Bran so easily accessing the memories of the Winterfell heart tree?  The weirwoods, the greenseers, and the old gods certainly appear to be all closely tied up with each other.

They do, but things only start going bump in the night after the arrival of the direwolves and specifically although Bloodraven claims to have watched Bran since birth the crow dreams only came afterwards. I'm not suggesting that Bloodraven was directly channeling through Summer but the direwolves were necessary to awaken things long dormant.

As to Jon and down below, its the same thing, the Old Gods or the Ice if you prefer have had the ability to observe through the weirwood and perhaps other means as yet unknown to us, but until now no physical agency.

As we've discussed before there's something down in the crypts and the only thing we can be sure of it that it aint an affydavey or marriage licence.

 

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34 minutes ago, JNR said:

Certainly always that.  

But simply thinking dreams are tricksy things doesn't get us much closer to figuring out puzzles.   We can do quite a bit better with dreams like Jaime's in ASOS, or Bran's coma dream in AGOT, than we can with this one (IMO at least) because this one is so relatively new to the canon, we have yet to see how future canon plays it out (or doesn't).

True, but at least we know that we need to peer below the surface :commie:

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4 hours ago, Black Crow said:

They do, but things only start going bump in the night after the arrival of the direwolves and specifically although Bloodraven claims to have watched Bran since birth the crow dreams only came afterwards. I'm not suggesting that Bloodraven was directly channeling through Summer but the direwolves were necessary to awaken things long dormant.

I remember a GRRM interview where he said the direwolves changed the Starks and Sansa losing hers so soon would have consequences.  He didn't elaborate further. 

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Does it have to be the old gods using Ghost to access Winterfell? JNR makes a good point, the weirwood is the heart of the castle and the Starks have worshipped the old gods for millennia. They should already have access, and they would have sent the other 5 pups. 

Ghost was separate from the start; Jon thinks he crawled away but Ned ominously suggests he was driven away. Driven away by who? Surely not the blind other pups, so ... by the mother? But why? 

The old gods are the gods of the woods and the streams, the gods of nature. But Ghost is not natural, he is silent and apart. He was the one to discover Othor and Jaffer; if not for him, Jon and Sam would have said their vows and ridden home and the wights would have remained beyond the Wall where they belong. Perhaps most disturbingly, Ghost seems to really like Melisandre, and that certainly doesn't fit with him representing the old gods! He looks the part, certainly, but so does BR and we're not at all sure of where he stands.  Long story short, I suspect Ghost was not sent by the Old Gods like the other pups; he was planted by someone/something else like a trojan wolf amid the Old Gods' gift to the five Stark children. 

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Do we even know Ghost is brother to the other wolves or son of the dead mom?  It is almost like he appeared out of thin air at the scene. 

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9 hours ago, MaesterSam said:

Does it have to be the old gods using Ghost to access Winterfell? JNR makes a good point, the weirwood is the heart of the castle and the Starks have worshipped the old gods for millennia. They should already have access, and they would have sent the other 5 pups. 

Ghost was separate from the start; Jon thinks he crawled away but Ned ominously suggests he was driven away. Driven away by who? Surely not the blind other pups, so ... by the mother? But why? 

The old gods are the gods of the woods and the streams, the gods of nature. But Ghost is not natural, he is silent and apart. He was the one to discover Othor and Jaffer; if not for him, Jon and Sam would have said their vows and ridden home and the wights would have remained beyond the Wall where they belong. Perhaps most disturbingly, Ghost seems to really like Melisandre, and that certainly doesn't fit with him representing the old gods! He looks the part, certainly, but so does BR and we're not at all sure of where he stands.  Long story short, I suspect Ghost was not sent by the Old Gods like the other pups; he was planted by someone/something else like a trojan wolf amid the Old Gods' gift to the five Stark children. 

http://web.archive.o...s3/00103009.htm

Shaw: At one point Greywind characterizes Ghost as the quiet one who was "one of them but not one of them." Since the direwolves seem to reflect the children, does this characterization of Ghost mean that Jon is somehow a part of but still separate from the people around him?

Martin: Oh yes, I think that's always been true. Even in Winterfell, as a kid before the wolves, Jon was the bastard. He was the odd one out. The rest of them are all brothers and sisters. He's only a half-brother, so he's not as closely tied to them. In some circumstances he could share everything with his brothers, he could train with Robb and all that, but then another circumstance would come up (like when the king came to the castle and they were choosing who could sit at the high table) and he's not welcome there. So he's of them, he's part of the family, he's part of the siblings, but he's a little bit apart too. Ghost is very similar to that. He's the albino, he's the one who makes no noise, so he's related to the other direwolves but one apart as well.


 

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9 hours ago, Brad Stark said:

Do we even know Ghost is brother to the other wolves or son of the dead mom?  It is almost like he appeared out of thin air at the scene. 

Exactly! And with his eyes being open, with normal pups that would mean he is up to 2 weeks older than the others. 

The way the direwolves think about each other (in Jon & Bran POVs) does make it seem as though they at least think they are siblings or otherwise connected. Then again, the Stark kids think Jon is their half brother and it's entirely possible that this is not the case. 

 

2 hours ago, Black Crow said:

http://web.archive.o...s3/00103009.htm

Shaw: At one point Greywind characterizes Ghost as the quiet one who was "one of them but not one of them." Since the direwolves seem to reflect the children, does this characterization of Ghost mean that Jon is somehow a part of but still separate from the people around him?

Martin: Oh yes, I think that's always been true. Even in Winterfell, as a kid before the wolves, Jon was the bastard. He was the odd one out. The rest of them are all brothers and sisters. He's only a half-brother, so he's not as closely tied to them. In some circumstances he could share everything with his brothers, he could train with Robb and all that, but then another circumstance would come up (like when the king came to the castle and they were choosing who could sit at the high table) and he's not welcome there. So he's of them, he's part of the family, he's part of the siblings, but he's a little bit apart too. Ghost is very similar to that. He's the albino, he's the one who makes no noise, so he's related to the other direwolves but one apart as well.


 

Hmmm. Do we dare believe this? In the same passage, GRRM claims Jon is a bastard and a half-brother to the Starks, neither of which is necessarily the case. Not to mention that Greywind never characterized Ghost as anything, given that we don't have Robb POVs.

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12 minutes ago, MaesterSam said:

Hmmm. Do we dare believe this? In the same passage, GRRM claims Jon is a bastard and a half-brother to the Starks, neither of which is necessarily the case. Not to mention that Greywind never characterized Ghost as anything, given that we don't have Robb POVs.

Officially its still the case that Jon is half brother to the other children of Winterfell, whatever the truth of our theories.

I quoted the passage as pertaining to this business of whether Ghost is truly related to the others and there certainly seems room for wondering whether he is a cuckoo in the nest - which may be connected with the killing of the she-wolf. 

As to Greywind, I can recall though can't quote a conversation to that effect amongst the wolves themselves, although it would be a wolfdream in a Bran chapter. It needn't necessarily be a Greywind reference [after all this is the same interview where Shaw asked why the direwolves had been wiped out north of the Wall], but to the best of my recollection it was as described.

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17 hours ago, Brad Stark said:

I remember a GRRM interview where he said the direwolves changed the Starks and Sansa losing hers so soon would have consequences.  He didn't elaborate further. 

I take that Sansa is unprotected in some way.  Bran also laments that she lost her wolf and Ned thinks of Lyanna on her deathbed and the promises he made when he dispatches Lady.

So I wonder if Lyanna 'lost her wolf', meaning her brother Brandon's protection, when he ran off after receiving the mysterious message.  I don't recall, was Brandon already at Riverrun or on his way to Riverrun when he received the message?

Or Ned's guilt about Lady/Lyanna deserving better than a butcher might have something to do with Ned's failure to protect her.

I find these two passages curious:

Quote

A Game of Thrones - Bran III

He lifted his eyes and saw clear across the narrow sea, to the Free Cities and the green Dothraki sea and beyond, to Vaes Dothrak under its mountain, to the fabled lands of the Jade Sea, to Asshai by the Shadow, where dragons stirred beneath the sunrise.

Finally he looked north. He saw the Wall shining like blue crystal, and his bastard brother Jon sleeping alone in a cold bed, his skin growing pale and hard as the memory of all warmth fled from him. And he looked past the Wall, past endless forests cloaked in snow, past the frozen shore and the great blue-white rivers of ice and the dead plains where nothing grew or lived. North and north and north he looked, to the curtain of light at the end of the world, and then beyond that curtain. He looked deep into the heart of winter, and then he cried out, afraid, and the heat of his tears burned on his cheeks.

Quote

A Game of Thrones - Sansa VI

From the high battlements of the gatehouse, the whole world spread out below them. Sansa could see the Great Sept of Baelor on Visenya's hill, where her father had died. At the other end of the Street of the Sisters stood the fire-blackened ruins of the Dragonpit. To the west, the swollen red sun was half-hidden behind the Gate of the Gods. The salt sea was at her back, and to the south was the fish market and the docks and the swirling torrent of the Blackwater Rush. And to the north …

She turned that way, and saw only the city, streets and alleys and hills and bottoms and more streets and more alleys and the stone of distant walls. Yet she knew that beyond them was open country, farms and fields and forests, and beyond that, north and north and north again, stood Winterfell.

I assume that Sansa wasn't a strong skinchanger/warg; but I'm not so sure about that. 

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42 minutes ago, LynnS said:

I assume that Sansa wasn't a strong skinchanger/warg; but I'm not so sure about that. 

I'm not sure either. Aside from the obvious stuff all of the direwolves moulded themselves very closely to their children; Lady was Sansa.

The loss of Lady clearly left Sansa vulnerable, but then came the snowflake communion and she stopped being a victim.

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On 4/7/2018 at 10:27 AM, Black Crow said:

I disagree with the last bit. I think that the Starks gained the warging ability through their allegiance to the Ice, and lost it when the pact was broken. Now they are being offered it again through the wolves.

If anything, I think the evidence points in the opposite direction when it comes to Ghost.

Ghost is the one that alerts Jon that Othor is on the loose - even helping Jon to save Mormont from Othor -, it is Ghost that leads Jon to the dragonglass cache, Ghost that refuses to enter the Fist--which is said to "smell cold," a description that is also applied to the wights and Craster. Given that undead Othor is said to have the 'cold smell' upon him so strongly that it is making Jon gag, I might go so far as to say that Ghost has exhibited a strong dislike for the cold faction.

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