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Black Crow

Heresy 207 :skinchanging

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2 hours ago, LynnS said:

Yes, I recall some kind of discussion about it here once.  I just don't remember the details but something along the lines that Craster's mother offered him up to the Watch at one point.   I think this had something to do with the number of Craster's daughters matching the number of forts along the Wall.  It came to mind again on another thread discussing the Thing that comes in the Night and reports that it was seen a hundred years after the apprentice boys died.  The boys shambling along behind it.

Not sure how they could be 'seen' in chains after a hundred years.  Seen in a dream perhaps.  How these could be the same boys from a hundred years past or if anyone was alive to recognize them is a good question. 

The Thing that comes for the 'prentice boys in the current story is Coldhands.  Bran is an apprentice greenseer, Sam an apprentice maester and Jojen is perhaps an apprentice green dreamer. 

Sam is bound or chained in sense when he takes the vow not to speak of Bran and is strangely silenced.

Craster's boys come to mind since something comes to collect them either at birth or later when they are young boys. 

So I wonder if the apprentice boys were originally wildlings given over to the Watch and then tested by the thing with many faces.  Perhaps when Bran sees the bones of failed greenseers impaled on ice spears, he is seeing the 'prentice boys who died.

It's interesting that the terminology "in chains" is used especially when Bran is also said to be the "chained wolf". The chains may not be literal, but rather bound as thralls like the wights.

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8 hours ago, Black Crow said:

I really don't understand where you're coming from on this one.

...

I am now arguing that this particular aspect of the theory is unlikely because a much more straightforward alternative route has been identified and also because the 1993 synopsis betrays no thought of the Black Gate.

The latter premise is where I am coming from: using a 1993 letter to prove what GRRM wasn't thinking (eg, the Black Gate didn't exist among his mental setting ideas) in 1993, attempting to prove a negative. The 1993 letter - which is not representative of what would eventually become the 1996 novel - cannot be used to read GRRM's mind, nor demonstrate what sorts of plot events would have been unfolding off page.

For example, the 1993 letter briefly alludes to Jon Arryn's death--while Jon Arryn's death is an early plot event and catalyst, we later learn that Jon Arryn's death was neither illness nor Lannister plot, but Littlefinger sowing chaos; the sort of thing one could not even remotely infer from the 1993 letter (and would be difficult to infer even from aGoT), yet it is true, and important.

I should note that, while being skeptical of any relationship between Gared and the direwolf, I raise it in the first place in direct relation to ideas raised within Heresy: the Black Gate as door between 'fairy land' and the realms of men, and that one might need to open the Black Gate if they need 'magic' to cross to the south.

It is overthinking it, but then, any explanation other than "a pregnant direwolf was pressured southward, and had an unfortunate encounter with a stag" is overthinking it from the outset; nonetheless, while I agree that the plausible, simple explanation is the most likely, I disagree with a prior post that alternative speculation does not follow logically from the text.

What speculation, such as "the mother direwolf was ritually sacrificed with an antler dagger" follows from is re-reading Bran I in light of Bran's unfolding journey: that he is the victim of a conspiracy, there are outside forces pushing him away from the life he imagined for himself, even going so far as to mess with his mind, as when the 3EC seals/steals his memory of Jamie Lannister pushing him.

Perhaps it just reflects where I'm at as a reader, with most of my expectations for what happens next set years ago, making any potential for new and novel interpretations inherently appealing--if the author is going to drag his feet this much, I'm either going to overthink ASOIAF, or not think about it at all. :dunno:

 

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1 hour ago, Black Crow said:

Ah well that harks back to earlier suggestions that Craster is akin to a sin-eater. Everyone knows what he does and despises him for it, but at the same time he's tolerated and even supported because for so long as he pays the tithes to Hell their own children are safe.

The reason for inbreeding is to maintain certain traits.  Skinchanging perhaps.  We don't know that the brothers come for babes or older boys.  Craster is getting up there.. perhaps it was time for a new breeder.  One who is sent to the Wall to become a crow.  

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37 minutes ago, Feather Crystal said:

It's interesting that the terminology "in chains" is used especially when Bran is also said to be the "chained wolf". The chains may not be literal, but rather bound as thralls like the wights.

Indeed, it could be a ghost story with the apprentice boys shaking their gory locks and rattling their ghostly chains in the approved style - or the thing going bump in the night might be a passing walker trailed by wights :devil:

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2 hours ago, LynnS said:

They do seem to acknowledge that Craster's father was a crow since his blood is also black.

Yes, that's the way I take the "blood is black" line, and the notion that Craster is "more Jon's kind" than Free Folk.

As an aside, I believe we see from one of the rangers - Mormont? - that the Watch would gladly take in Craster's sons and raise them, if he were actually willing to offer them up; someone in a prior Heresy noted from this that it is slightly interesting that Craster's mother and her son were run off, rather than the Watch accepting a potential future ranger, likely because the father himself was rejecting his own bastard (and evidence of his oathbreaking).

I might be getting the attribution wrong here, but I think Phillip J. Frye had a theory that Craster's father may have been a second/third son of House Stark, and that he leveraged his family clout among his sworn brothers to run Craster's mother off--the presumed significance being that Craster's sons carry Stark blood, and that this makes them particularly appealing as offerings to the Others.

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4 minutes ago, LynnS said:

The reason for inbreeding is to maintain certain traits.  Skinchanging perhaps.  We don't know that the brothers come for babes or older boys.  Craster is getting up there.. perhaps it was time for a new breeder.  One who is sent to the Wall to become a crow.  

According to Gilly the walkers have been coming more frequently of late so that although she fears for her babe its entirely possible that the boys have been older when taken in the past because Craster doesn't appear to be in a call-and-collect arrangement.

The blue-eyed lot turn up as and when and if there isn't a boy ready and waiting they accept a donation of lamb in the meantime

The inbreeding may be necessary to preserve certain traits, but I'm more inclined to see it as baby farming, ie; Craster's sole purpose is to father the boys to be given to the gods. The girls aint, for whatever reason, what's required so he uses them as breeding stock in the hope of meeting his quota of boys. 

And then, his last boy needs to be protected until he can grow up and and resume the breeding programme. Perhaps the older women are not Craster's daughters but his sisters.

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GRRM: So I gave you a copy of A Game of Thrones and you say you read it.  

DONALD TRUMP: Correct.  Every page.

GRRM: As you know... or maybe you don't... I have a standard test question I ask people to see if they're serious readers of my work.  Are you ready?

DONALD TRUMP: Ready.  Shoot.

GRRM: Who is Jon Snow's mother?

DONALD TRUMP: (long pause)  That would be Mrs. Snow.  

GRRM: (blinks) 

DONALD TRUMP: A hundred percent.

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1 hour ago, Matthew. said:

As an aside, I believe we see from one of the rangers - Mormont? - that the Watch would gladly take in Craster's sons and raise them, if he were actually willing to offer them up; someone in a prior Heresy noted from this that it is slightly interesting that Craster's mother and her son were run off, rather than the Watch accepting a potential future ranger, likely because the father himself was rejecting his own bastard (and evidence of his oathbreaking).

Perhaps he loses his protection by giving his sons to the Watch.  There is no guarantee that the Watch will take wildling boys depending on the LC.  Someone who is anti-wildling would not.

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1 hour ago, JNR said:

GRRM: So I gave you a copy of A Game of Thrones and you say you read it.  

DONALD TRUMP: Correct.  Every page.

GRRM: As you know... or maybe you don't... I have a standard test question I ask people to see if they're serious readers of my work.  Are you ready?

DONALD TRUMP: Ready.  Shoot.

GRRM: Who is Jon Snow's mother?

DONALD TRUMP: (long pause)  That would be Mrs. Snow.  

GRRM: (blinks) 

DONALD TRUMP: A hundred percent.

Har :D

I rather find it difficult to believe that GRRM would give Mr Trump the time of day, let alone a copy of a certain book.

That being said, I've begun to wonder of late about that "standard question"

Is it? Is there such a thing?

I'm paraphrasing somewhat but as I recall, the Mummers claim that when the idea for their show was pitched, GRRM asked a test question about Jon Snow's mother. They responded with what they thought was a daring identification. GRRM smiled and the rest is history.

But is that an accurate account or was that just one of a number of trivia questions which came up?

And given GRRM's penchant for significant smiles, was his smile in this case a happy one, or did the thought bubble hovering over his head as he smiled enigmatically have the word SUCKERS emblazoned on it?

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11 minutes ago, Black Crow said:

And given GRRM's penchant for significant smiles, was his smile in this case a happy one, or did the thought bubble hovering over his head as he smiled enigmatically have the word SUCKERS emblazoned on it?

This, always.  And this:

http://web.archive.org/web/20000615222300/http://www.eventhorizon.com/sfzine/chats/transcripts/031899.html

 

Charmayne Mr. Martin, I was under the impression that Rhaegar raped Lyanna. Did he, or were they in love?
George_RR_Martin Rhaegar and Lyanna — well, that's a revelation that will need to wait for later volumes. But if you're uncertain about it, I am glad. One thing I wanted to do was suggest the uncertainty of truth. I mean, think about it — in our own world, we don't even know what happened between Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemmings — or between Bill Clinton and Paula Jones, for that matter. The truth of Rhaegar and Lyanna may be similarly elusive . . . for a time.

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1 hour ago, Black Crow said:

But is that an accurate account or was that just one of a number of trivia questions which came up?

And given GRRM's penchant for significant smiles, was his smile in this case a happy one, or did the thought bubble hovering over his head as he smiled enigmatically have the word SUCKERS emblazoned on it?


https://www.rollingstone.com/tv/news/george-r-r-martin-outtakes-from-the-rolling-stone-interview-20140428
 

Quote

Benioff and Weiss later said that during that meeting you asked them who they think Jon Snow's mother was, which is one of the earliest — and seemingly one of the central — mysteries in A Song of Ice and Fire.
I did ask that at one point, just to see how closely they'd read the text.

Did they get it right?
They answered correctly. 

I suppose if someone is looking for a technicality, they can interpret "answered correctly" as a tricky answer that implies they 'correctly demonstrated they had closely read the text,' while not explicitly affirming that they got Jon Snow's mother right.

 

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10 minutes ago, Matthew. said:


https://www.rollingstone.com/tv/news/george-r-r-martin-outtakes-from-the-rolling-stone-interview-20140428
 

I suppose if someone is looking for a technicality, they can interpret "answered correctly" as a tricky answer that implies they 'correctly demonstrated they had closely read the text,' while not explicitly affirming that they got Jon Snow's mother right.
 

I don't think that technicalities are necessary, beyond the obvious fact that the question was about Jon Snow's mother

I still wonder though how important the question was and whether it was indeed the deciding test, or whether it was merely one of many

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4 hours ago, Matthew. said:

Yes, that's the way I take the "blood is black" line, and the notion that Craster is "more Jon's kind" than Free Folk.

As an aside, I believe we see from one of the rangers - Mormont? - that the Watch would gladly take in Craster's sons and raise them, if he were actually willing to offer them up; someone in a prior Heresy noted from this that it is slightly interesting that Craster's mother and her son were run off, rather than the Watch accepting a potential future ranger, 

Getting back to the thread, the Watch may rightly have been suspicious. Gilly's boy is Craster's son, yet she was urged by the other women to get him away, somewhere warm, before his brothers came for him. Craster's mother may have been similarly urged to run for the Wall. Its going to be interesting to see when Winds finally comes out, what happens next [if there hasn't been a double switch worked] if Craster's son is still on the Wall. 

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3 hours ago, LynnS said:

Perhaps he loses his protection by giving his sons to the Watch.  There is no guarantee that the Watch will take wildling boys depending on the LC.  Someone who is anti-wildling would not.

As to the former, I think that is precisely the reason why Craster himself (at least according to his beliefs) won't give his sons to the Watch; while some in the Watch have assessed Craster as a miser who's just ridding himself of extra mouths, his self-described godliness doesn't appear to be a total fraud, regardless of whether or not any of the underlying superstitions are actually true.

For one thing, if it was just about not having any extra mouths to feed, then offering sheep would run against that purpose; furthermore, he also seems to view his offers of food and shelter (stingy as they may be) as a part of his godliness.

Sam II, ASOS:

Quote

"I fed you what I could, but you crows are always hungry. I'm a godly man, else I would have chased you off. You think I need the likes of him, dying on my floor? You think I need all your mouths, little man?"


Craster's belief that his sacrifices make him 'godly' seem straightforward enough, but why does he perceive himself as being 'godly' in the above instance? I have my preferred answer:
 

Quote

"The laws of hospitality are as old as the First Men, and sacred as a heart tree."

...

"'Tis scarcely chivalrous to threaten your host over his own cheese and olives," the Lord of the Dreadfort scolded. "In the north, we hold the laws of hospitality sacred still."

...

The lords of the Three Sisters had a black repute, and none more so than Godric Borrell, Lord of Sweetsister, Shield of Sisterton, Master of Breakwater Castle, and Keeper of the Night Lamp … but even robber lords and wreckers were bound by the ancient laws of hospitality.

Edit: The point being that, while Craster's practices might appear heterodox, I suspect that his faith falls under the 'old gods of nature' umbrella, as opposed to being a distinct faith that worships the cold gods separately from/in opposition to the old gods of the First Men. Indeed, far from being heterodox, I think Craster has taken up a more traditional/old school form of worship, while it is his fellow FM who are lapsed in their 'godliness.'


In any case, you're right about Craster's mother being turned away, as it would depend (in part) on the nature of the Watch and its leader at that point in time.

 

33 minutes ago, Black Crow said:

I don't think that technicalities are necessary, beyond the obvious fact that the question was about Jon Snow's mother

I still wonder though how important the question was and whether it was indeed the deciding test, or whether it was merely one of many

IMO, GRRM wasn't looking for the best puzzle solver to be a showrunner, he just wanted any answer that showed a thoughtfulness and passion for the text--regardless of whether or not the answer itself correctly predicted the future.

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23 minutes ago, Matthew. said:

IMO, GRRM wasn't looking for the best puzzle solver to be a showrunner, he just wanted any answer that showed a thoughtfulness and passion for the text--regardless of whether or not the answer itself correctly predicted the future.

I would agree with that, which is why I suspect that the importance of the "correct" answer may be a little inflated.

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25 minutes ago, Matthew. said:

The point being that, while Craster's practices might appear heterodox, I suspect that his faith falls under the 'old gods of nature' umbrella, as opposed to being a distinct faith that worships the cold gods separately from/in opposition to the old gods of the First Men. Indeed, far from being heterodox, I think Craster has taken up a more traditional/old school form of worship, while it is his fellow FM who are lapsed in their 'godliness.'

Again I'd agree, but emphasise that the "traditional/old school form of worship" practiced by Craster also includes giving his sons to the wood

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2 hours ago, Black Crow said:

I would agree with that, which is why I suspect that the importance of the "correct" answer may be a little inflated.

I can see why GRRM might be interested in asking about Jon's mother, because it's a case where the answer itself is revealing about the way in which a person has interacted with the story, what plot elements they value, and what they're excited about--correct or incorrect.

One reader might have a theory that emphasizes the fate of the Iron Throne; another might have a theory that leads to Jon riding a dragon; another might emphasize Jon having "more of the north in him" to conclude his parentage leads to him being NK 2.0; another might envision him taking up his birthright to wield Dawn. 

Another might see a potentially untapped story-within-a-story between Howland and Lyanna in Meera's tale; and another might think the whole 'Jon's Secret Parentage' thing is a trap that plays on genre trope expectations, in much the same way that Eddard's death plays on the plot armor expectation, and that Jon's parentage has already been revealed in plain sight in Ned and Robert's terse conversation about Wylla.

I think the biggest thing GRRM didn't want to see was any obvious signs that D&D had just skimmed a bit of aGoT, or a wiki, or whatever--signs that they were just bullshitting to attach themselves to an HBO show, as opposed to actually being excited about adapting ASOIAF specifically.

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I posted this long before but

I was thinking about the role of King's blood and the other bloodlines and if blood sacrifice of certain people really had the power Melisandra and others claim.  There is no finite amount of people,  so if someone were willing to breed and sacrifice certain bloodlines,  they'd have unlimited access to that power.  Then I thought of Craster. 

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3 hours ago, Matthew. said:


I think the biggest thing GRRM didn't want to see was any obvious signs that D&D had just skimmed a bit of aGoT, or a wiki, or whatever--signs that they were just bullshitting to attach themselves to an HBO show, as opposed to actually being excited about adapting ASOIAF specifically.

It was a job that was handed to them, D&D. They weren't preexisting fans of ASOIAF and hadn't read the books until one was sent to Benioff, and then Benioff sent it to Weiss.

2007:

(interviewer) BR: Obviously you've been standing in the room and you've been seeing the questions from fans going on all evening. I guess the biggest question and the one that everybody's kind of wanted to know about the series is, how faithful is it going to be to the books and how is it going to cue off what George has already written?

DB: Well, when the books were first sent to me by George's agent, they were sent for me to look at in terms of making as a feature. And I started reading and about, I probably read about 150 pages, and I realized three things I guess. One was that I hadn't been this transported into a fantasy world since I also was in junior high school reading Lord of the Rings. The second thing was that this was, this would not work as a feature because the idea of trying to compress an 800 page book with incredibly detailed subplots into 120 page script, I mean we would have lost so much of what was so wonderful about this book. The third thing was that this was something I wanted to do and I couldn't do it by myself, which was why I sent the book to my friend and colleague, D.B. Weiss.

http://www.westeros.org/Citadel/SSM/Entry/2394

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2 hours ago, The Fattest Leech said:

It was a job that was handed to them, D&D. They weren't preexisting fans of ASOIAF and hadn't read the books until one was sent to Benioff, and then Benioff sent it to Weiss.

...? That quote from Benioff is exactly what I meant--he actually read the book and was excited about adapting ASOIAF itself, he didn't just dissemble and flatter his way through a meeting with the author because it was an opportunity to adapt what he was told was a popular series of books with franchise potential; I did not mean to imply enthusiasm as an extension of longstanding fandom.

Perhaps I am not articulating my mental image properly, or perhaps I'm just entirely off base in the way I imagine some of the meetings GRRM has had, but he alludes to having had "nibbles" from Hollywood in the past about adapting ASOIAF; specifically, I'm assuming that he had met his fair share of bullshitters who were excited about the idea that they were going to attach themselves to the next hot franchise, as opposed to having any specific enthusiasm for what they were adapting.

eg, "I'm excited about making ASOIAF," as opposed to "I'm excited, because I think this is going to be as big as the Lord of the Rings."

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