Jump to content
Black Crow

Heresy 207 :skinchanging

Recommended Posts

1 hour ago, LynnS said:

The hero reborn in the sea:

That's the way I interpret "reborn in the sea" as well. IMO, Dany is the best fit for the signs and portents that Melisandre values by a wide margin--Lady of Dragonstone, waking dragons from stone, her pyre of rebirth taking place beneath a red comet that the Dothraki name "the Bleeding Star."

I also find it a point in Dany's favor that there are two shadowbinders of Asshai attempting to act as guides: Melisandre, who has attached herself to a figure upon whom she projects and misattributes qualities that actually belong to Dany, and Quaithe, who has attached herself to the real deal.

The glaring absence in her resume is that she hasn't forged a literal red sword of heroes, which may come down to that aspect either being fulfilled symbolically, or that it can still be fulfilled down the line; eg, dragons are necessary for making the sword, or Lightbringer is to be quenched in Dany's heart.

I don't think there's any trick on GRRM's part here, where Dany is a "too obvious" red herring--I think this is just a case where the reader is meant to know more than the characters, and Melisandre and Stannis' arcs are to be understood from the outset as dramatic irony.

Nonetheless, that comes with the usual caveats: Melisandre might be conflating separate prophecies (eg, Azor Ahai Reborn is R'hllorist doctrine, TPtwP is something else entirely), each of the three heads might fulfill the prophecy in their own way, etc.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, LynnS said:

It does sound like a senior moment.

Well, the Shaw interview was given in 2003, fifteen years ago, and GRRM was not a senior in any conceivable sense.  He was then, and remains, the world's leading authority on the subject of his own fiction. 

And really, this is quite a simple topic.

1. We encounter seven direwolves south of the Wall in canon... in a place very close to a forest roughly as large as Great Britain... where few or no people live... which is called the Wolfswood.  That's not too terribly subtle.  If Great Britain had close to zero population and were entirely forested, I daresay some wolves could live there without people noticing.

2. We see zero direwolves north of the Wall.  Nor do any characters ever claim to have seen any direwolves there.

3. The closest you can get to such an encounter is the vague claim by rangers to have heard them... but those rangers would have no idea how a direwolf sounds if they've never encountered any direwolves in their lives.  Which they haven't.

4. Such an unfounded claim is very similar to Theon's claim that direwolves haven't been seen in two hundred years. That's a silly claim on the face of it; Theon lacks a psychic link to all human minds going back two hundred years, so how would he know?  What he means is something much weaker: simply that there are no reports of direwolves south of the Wall that Theon is aware of.  But see point 1. 

Generally speaking, we as readers really need to stop taking these unprovable claims as if they were objective facts.  It's the lesson of the Sealord's cat, also in book one, that that's a terrible idea.

Also, if we're going to claim GRRM was mistaken about his own world, on such a simple topic as that, we may as well abandon all quotes by GRRM on all subjects.  The Shaw interview that brought us that quote, for instance, is the same interview in which GRRM said this:

Quote

Shaw: Can you explain why the King's Guard chose to stand and fight Ned at the Tower of the Joy instead of protecting the remaining royal family members?

Martin: The King's Guards don't get to make up their own orders. They serve the king, they protect the king and the royal family, but they're also bound to obey their orders, and if Prince Rhaegar gave them a certain order, they would do that. They can't say, "No we don't like that order, we'll do something else."

Are we really prepared to throw out all such remarks by GRRM, made at all times, because we think we know his world better than he does?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
18 minutes ago, JNR said:

Are we really prepared to throw out all such remarks by GRRM, made at all times, because we think we know his world better than he does?

The simple answer is:  no - we're not throwing them out.  I never claimed to know his world better than he does.  In fact, I'm pretty sure that I know nothing. :D

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

I don't have a horse in this race, but those involved might be interested in this SSM as well:


http://www.westeros.org/Citadel/SSM/Entry/1185/
 

Quote

1) About the direwolves, I assume that, like in RL, a direwolf's main source of food is the larger animals (elk and such) that grey wolves can't catch as easily. The only place we see the really large animals, too, are beyond the Wall. Is this why direwolves live almost exclusively beyond the Wall, or is there something I'm missing?

There are large animals south of the Wall as well, especially in the wolfswood, the kingswood, and the rainwood, the three largest forests in the south. But I suspect that direwolves fled the advent of man, or were hunted out... they are far more dangerous to humans than ordinary wolves.


Personally, I find it entirely reasonable to suggest that the Wolfswood could still be housing direwolves that are infrequently encountered, and such encounters as occur are poorly documented and disseminated (in a manner not dissimilar to the assumption that the coelocanth was extinct in our world). 

OTOH, GRRM may make occasional mistakes while speaking extemporaneously - misspeaking not being the same thing as misunderstanding one's own world - and SSMs can be transcribed inaccurately. Or, in this specific instance, Shaw may have bungled his question, but GRRM took it as relating to the south of the Wall.

Edited by Matthew.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
15 minutes ago, Matthew. said:

I don't have a horse in this race, but those involved might be interested in this SSM as well:

It removes the possibility that Gared brought the direwolf through the Black Gate which would involve a more complicated backstory.  I'm not particularly attached to the idea.  It makes sense that GRRM would know the origins and where to place the direwolf since it's part of his inspiration:  the image of a dead wolf in the snow.  It's not something that I think about much.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
43 minutes ago, LynnS said:

It removes the possibility that Gared brought the direwolf through the Black Gate which would involve a more complicated backstory.  I'm not particularly attached to the idea.  It makes sense that GRRM would know the origins and where to place the direwolf since it's part of his inspiration:  the image of a dead wolf in the snow.  It's not something that I think about much.

It doesn't remove the possibility because we're still left with Gared and the she-wolf turning up at the same time close to Winterfell and the six cubs corresponding to the six walkers. Could it be a red herring? Of course it could, but there's all that stuff about the old gods sending the cubs. Its a theory, its open and may or may not have legs.

As to direwolves generally however it provides far more clarity than the Shaw interview and is consistent with the north/south being an uncorrected slip of the tongue by Shaw.

Share this post


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

 

I didn't know he said that.  It is oddly contradictory since as Black Crow points out, the Watch hears direwolves north of the Wall.  It does seem more logical that they were hunted to extinction south of the Wall.  Leaf does say that they are one of the old races that are close to becoming extinct.  So I don't know what to make of it.  

When Leaf talks of direwolves she means the Starks.

6 hours ago, LynnS said:

The hero reborn in the sea:

 

The sea is the area north of the Wall.

2 hours ago, Black Crow said:

It doesn't remove the possibility because we're still left with Gared and the she-wolf turning up at the same time close to Winterfell and the six cubs corresponding to the six walkers. Could it be a red herring? Of course it could, but there's all that stuff about the old gods sending the cubs. Its a theory, its open and may or may not have legs.

As to direwolves generally however it provides far more clarity than the Shaw interview and is consistent with the north/south being an uncorrected slip of the tongue by Shaw.

Ned told Catelyn: "The poor man was half mad. Something had put a fear in him so deep that my words could not reach him."

Gared was so spooked by the white walker attack on Waymar, and if he also was found by Coldhands and helped through the Black Gate, I can see how Ned would think he was "half mad".

There are a lot of issues with Gared killing the direwolf. 1) the direwolf could have killed him, and 2) the direwolf was dead and rotting with a smell of corruption, so not a fresh kill. Which leads to 3) if Gared dragged a dead direwolf there would be evidence, like a blood smear, etc, and the animal is large and heavy while Gared is old and scawny. 

I think we need to explore other ideas as to how the dead direwolf came to be. Maybe it really was killed by a deer, walked itself into the ditch and died, the body expelling the pups upon death which is a factual occurrence.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)
5 minutes ago, Feather Crystal said:

When Leaf talks of direwolves she means the Starks.

I think she is saying that Starks will survive as direwolves.  Sansa being the exception.  But I wouldn't put it past Martin to kill off Ghost. 

Edited by LynnS

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)
13 hours ago, Feather Crystal said:

I think we need to explore other ideas as to how the dead direwolf came to be. Maybe it really was killed by a deer, walked itself into the ditch and died, the body expelling the pups upon death which is a factual occurrence.

It still seems odd that the cubs were still alive if she was dead long enough to stink. It may simply be inconsistent writing on GRRM's part, or the smell might be Mamma's own. I can smell a [living] fox 500 metres downwind.

And we're still left with Gared, the direwolf and six cubs intended for the six children of Winterfell same time same place - and the six walkers in a story that revolves around skin-changing.

Edited by Black Crow

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
49 minutes ago, Feather Crystal said:

When Leaf talks of direwolves she means the Starks.

Perhaps, but the context doesn't support it.

Share this post


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

It still seems odd that the cubs were still alive if she was dead long enough to stink. It may simply be inconsistent writing on GRRM's part, or the smell might be Mamma's own. I can smell a fox 500 metres downwind.

And we're still left with Gared, the direwolf and six cubs intended for the six children of Winterfell same time same place - and the six walkers in a story that revolves around skin-changing.

If Gared didn't come by the gate, how did he cross the Wall?  He didn't seem mentally or physically capable of climbing or going around.

I thought of the direwolf similar to Coldhands's elk, a large beautiful animal sacrificed for a reason.  The reason being to deliver the wolves to the Starks, and possibly to aid Gared on his journey. 

Which brings up the question of why Gerad was sent South of The Wall, and by whom.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

The shortest way for Gared is straight south. After riding north and northwest, riding south would bring him to the Gorge. He can then either use the Bridge of Skulls or go through the Gorge. 

The Others take them all, thought Jon, as he watched them scramble up the steep slope of the ridge and vanish beneath the trees. It would not be the first time wildlings had scaled the Wall, not even the hundred and first. The patrols stumbled on climbers two or three times a year, and rangers sometimes came on the broken corpses of those who had fallen. Along the east coast the raiders most often built boats to slip across the Bay of Seals. In the west they would descend into the black depths of the Gorge to make their way around the Shadow Tower. But in between the only way to defeat the Wall was to go over it, and many a raider had. Fewer come back, though, he thought with a certain grim pride. Climbers must of necessity leave their mounts behind, and many younger, greener raiders began by taking the first horses they found. Then a hue and cry would go up, ravens would fly, and as often as not the Night's Watch would hunt them down and hang them before they could get back with their plunder and stolen women. Jarl would not make that mistake, Jon knew, but he wondered about Styr. The Magnar is a ruler, not a raider. He may not know how the game is played.

 

We as readers know that the area is empty at that time.

"I do," said Lord Commander Mormont. "The cold winds are rising, Snow. Beyond the Wall, the shadows lengthen. Cotter Pyke writes of vast herds of elk, streaming south and east toward the sea, and mammoths as well. He says one of his men discovered huge, misshapen footprints not three leagues from Eastwatch. Rangers from the Shadow Tower have found whole villages abandoned, and at night Ser Denys says they see fires in the mountains, huge blazes that burn from dusk till dawn. Quorin Halfhand took a captive in the depths of the Gorge, and the man swears that Mance Rayder is massing all his people in some new, secret stronghold he's found, to what end the gods only know. Do you think your uncle Benjen was the only ranger we've lost this past year?"  aGoT - Jon IX

Edited by SirArthur

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think that we can cheerfully agree Gared is a very unlikely candidate for climbing the Wall. Other than the fact they had been riding north and west there's no way to determine where the ambush occurred and where Gared would have struck the Wall. The Gorge certainly offers a simpler alternative to the Black Gate, but we are still left with a chain of related events:

A Watch patrol is ambushed by six white walkers. The sole survivor then turns up outside Winterfell. Lord Eddard and his older sons come out to execute him and find a dead she-direwolf with six cubs, which all in text are agreed were meant for the six children of Winterfell and which Jon later observes of his own, belong to the Old Gods.

Clearly this was not a chance encounter but was set up in order to deliver the pups to their intended destination. In considering how it was manipulated we need to acknowledge the presence of the sole survivor and look sideways at the six walkers and the six cubs in this everyday tale of skin-changing folks.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

I'm not sure if the Shadow Tower would be the closest gate/tunnel. The Wall is hundred leagues long and it is more or less 50 leagues from Castle Black to the Shadow Tower. We know that Winterfell to the Wall has over 200 leagues and Jon + Tyrion need over 18 days. We can conclude that our 3 men in black may have made 100 leagues in the 9 days. Which will result in a little over 30 of our miles. Which is probably too much for horses in wood. We don't know how far it is to the Shivering Sea directly north of Castle Black. If the map indicates anything, then that the MiBs could have reached the sea. So going west is a choice the Wildlings also had to make. I claim that

1) The Gorge is too far in the west, although a way to "cross" the Wall.

2) However the Gorge is far easier too find than our Black Gate. Just follow the Milkwater. The Black Gate needs knowledge. 

3) Our story has mystery elements. Be it the proximity of the Wildlings to the sea or the Direwolves. There are unlikely options like warging Gared or a ship the Wildlings were looking for. They have done their "job", delivered whatever they raided south of the Wall and Mr. Customer is getting rid of them. 

Edited by SirArthur

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Didn't it take Jon and Tyrion 6 weeks to get to the Wall from Winterfell? For all we know Gared went back to Castle Black before fleeing south. We really don't know. Its also possible Coldhands helped him through the Black Gate just like he did for Sam, but again there are not enough details to know for sure.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Might he just have walked through the tunnel at Castle Black?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
16 minutes ago, redriver said:

Might he just have walked through the tunnel at Castle Black?

Not sure how he would have managed that since his arrival would have been announced by the Watch - one horn blast, ranger returning and Mormont didn't know anything about Othor and Jafr until they showed up as corpses.  All the Watch knows according to Benjen is that rangers have gone missing for some time.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
36 minutes ago, LynnS said:

Not sure how he would have managed that since his arrival would have been announced by the Watch - one horn blast, ranger returning and Mormont didn't know anything about Othor and Jafr until they showed up as corpses.  All the Watch knows according to Benjen is that rangers have gone missing for some time.

 I suspect that even I could manage that.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
25 minutes ago, redriver said:

 I suspect that even I could manage that.

 

Well maybe you could do it; but I doubt Gared would go unnoticed or have the frame of mind to get through without being questioned.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, Feather Crystal said:

Didn't it take Jon and Tyrion 6 weeks to get to the Wall from Winterfell? 

All time calculations I have seen so far assume 21 days. I will look into it. 6 weeks would make it  about 15 miles a day with horses.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.

×