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Black Crow

Heresy 207 :skinchanging

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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.

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

That's an interesting one, but if anything it reinforces a suspicion that that the mummers were buying into the R+L=J fan theory rather than coming up with it themselves

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4 hours ago, Brad Stark said:

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. 

I think that we're probably talking to a degree of self-fulfilling prophecies, in that individuals possessed of a certain ability may use it perhaps unwittingly to achieve a position of power.

Lets take Jon as an example.

We know that he is a warg because he has a direwolf and we see internal monologues of skin-changing and being skinchanged, but set that aside and suppose that the she-wolf never came along. Consider Jon without Ghost. We can see him still becoming Lord Commander of the Watch despite his youth due to the leadership qualities which he unconsciously displays. Men will follow him.

But do they do that because he's the hero, or because he has, unknowingly, the power to make them follow him because he is a warg even though he doesn't actually skinchange them?

Turning back to Craster, does he have the power he exercises over his women because he is a warg? There are no obvious signs of it because he doesn't have a wolf or any other familiar, but it would explain why his sons may be attractive to the Others

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4 hours ago, Brad Stark said:

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. 

I don't know what would qualify Craster's child as having kingsblood or how kingsblood would qualify through the generations. It certainly is a vague idea of kingsblood (unless Craster is a king) with a very specific idea for kingsblood (it has to be incest and it is related to genes and they are not spreading). 

 

 

 

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7 minutes ago, SirArthur said:

I don't know what would qualify Craster's child as having kingsblood or how kingsblood would qualify through the generations. It certainly is a vague idea of kingsblood (unless Craster is a king) with a very specific idea for kingsblood (it has to be incest and it is related to genes and they are not spreading). 

At the root of what I've just posted above is the suggestion that "kingsblood" confers the ability to lead or control. Kings have it, hence the name, although perhaps not all of them, but it isn't confined to kings and can produce Crasters or, in combination with a suitable partner, wargs.

Craster, I suspect had kingsblood but this is concealed by the size and nature of his "kingdom" and a failure to bond with a skinchanger

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3 hours ago, SirArthur said:

I don't know what would qualify Craster's child as having kingsblood or how kingsblood would qualify through the generations. It certainly is a vague idea of kingsblood (unless Craster is a king) with a very specific idea for kingsblood (it has to be incest and it is related to genes and they are not spreading). 

 

 

 

I am not saying Craster is a Targaryan, but that works.   He could be a Stark or any other bloodline that has some magic power.  His father was a man on the Wall,  and we don't know who that is, but it could be any of the families.

On first reading,  I thought he was some sort of pervert who enjoyed what he is doing, and showed that any behavior is tolerated North of the Wall.  On re-read, he is a scared little sheep breeding sons to give to the Others or whoever is controlling them and him.

On the subject of sheep I find it odd the Others go to Craster for literal sheep.  The Others are supposed to be hateful inhuman demons trying to end all life.  It might make sense they allow dueling Royce 1 on 1, especially if he couldn't win, or the other Others would jump in if he did.  But why barter for sheep?  The Others don't need to eat, do they?  And while they might kill all Craster's animals outright or let him keep them, taking a few when he doesn't have a son to offer is really odd.

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5 minutes ago, Brad Stark said:

I am not saying Craster is a Targaryan, but that works.   He could be a Stark or any other bloodline that has some magic power.  His father was a man on the Wall,  and we don't know who that is, but it could be any of the families.

On first reading,  I thought he was some sort of pervert who enjoyed what he is doing, and showed that any behavior is tolerated North of the Wall.  On re-read, he is a scared little sheep breeding sons to give to the Others or whoever is controlling them and him.

On the subject of sheep I find it odd the Others go to Craster for literal sheep.  The Others are supposed to be hateful inhuman demons trying to end all life.  It might make sense they allow dueling Royce 1 on 1, especially if he couldn't win, or the other Others would jump in if he did.  But why barter for sheep?  The Others don't need to eat, do they?  And while they might kill all Craster's animals outright or let him keep them, taking a few when he doesn't have a son to offer is really odd.

I've commented above on the nature of "Kingsblood", and while there is indeed a Craster's Keep on the Northumbrian coast not so very far from where I live, "in story" the name Craster looks and sounds like a corruption of Karstark.

As to the sheep, I agree that they are of no practical value to the blue-eyed lot but, as Gilly observes, Craster is fond of mutton and giving them up is a genuine sacrifice which demonstrates his continued allegiance.

And yes the very fact that Craster's sons periodically come knocking rather dents Old Nan's contention that they hate all life and will kill anyone and anything they meet.

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7 hours ago, Black Crow said:

That's an interesting one, but if anything it reinforces a suspicion that that the mummers were buying into the R+L=J fan theory rather than coming up with it themselves

Well, we know they were at one point making posts on the forums here, so it is possible. 

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3 hours ago, Black Crow said:

As to the sheep, I agree that they are of no practical value to the blue-eyed lot but, as Gilly observes, Craster is fond of mutton and giving them up is a genuine sacrifice which demonstrates his continued allegiance.

Whitetree comes to mind.  Recently abandoned but with a weirwood that has a mouth large enough for a sheep or what remains of it's carcass. 

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1 hour ago, The Fattest Leech said:

Well, we know they were at one point making posts on the forums here, so it is possible. 

Were they. I didn't know that.  They can't be pleased with comments on the last two series. 

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20 minutes ago, LynnS said:

Were they. I didn't know that.  They can't be pleased with comments on the last two series. 

They were. I will see if I can find it... even though I don't think it lasted very long :dunno:

 

@LynnS

try this link. it is hard for me to copy and paste at the moment. sorry

http://asoiaf.westeros.org/index.php?/profile/13250-david-and-dan/content/

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47 minutes ago, The Fattest Leech said:

They were. I will see if I can find it... even though I don't think it lasted very long :dunno:

 

@LynnS

try this link. it is hard for me to copy and paste at the moment. sorry

http://asoiaf.westeros.org/index.php?/profile/13250-david-and-dan/content/

Interesting... but [      ] 

 

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1 hour ago, LynnS said:

Whitetree comes to mind.  Recently abandoned but with a weirwood that has a mouth large enough for a sheep or what remains of it's carcass. 

Perhaps, like Craster's emergency offerings it was a substitute for stringing guts on the branches. 

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20 hours ago, Black Crow said:

I suspect that the importance of the "correct" answer may be a little inflated

I mostly agree with this, though I'd sort it out like this:

1. Giving the correct answer does show more effort and interest than is typical for Hollywood types, as Matthew said, no matter the road they took.   Even if they got it simply by looking online, that's still better fare than GRRM was usually served. 

2. However, the importance of it beyond that is almost certainly inflated.  Because the seasons since they ran out of canon have conclusively shown they really have no idea what they're doing, to the point where they've been repeatedly mocked over gross storytelling failures in mass media

Note the way that URL ends: "season-7-white-walker-dragon-battle-dumb-no-sense"  :D

3. On the specific topic of Jon's parentage, you can see in interviews here and there that D&D have the bad habit of conflating "Jon's mother" with "Jon's parentage," which is a pretty telling sign that as analysts, they aren't very good... although they think they are:

Quote

We had become instantly and genuinely obsessed with his books to the point where we knew lots and lots about the minutia of them — and then he asked us the question about Jon Snow’s parentage.

That's from Variety.  And if I noticed they made such a blatant mistake, in the same sentence where they're bragging about their mastery of canon, we can be sure GRRM noticed that too.  

So I wouldn't be suprised if at some level you're right about this:

23 hours ago, Black Crow said:

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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8 hours ago, Black Crow said:

As to the sheep, I agree that they are of no practical value to the blue-eyed lot but, as Gilly observes, Craster is fond of mutton and giving them up is a genuine sacrifice which demonstrates his continued allegiance.

Craster's offerings appear a bit silly in-world ("what do the white walkers do with the sheep?"), but GRRM is taking inspiration from real myths and practices; sheep as burnt offerings, smearing one's home with sacrificial lamb's blood to ward against evil, etc. 
 

8 hours ago, Black Crow said:

And yes the very fact that Craster's sons periodically come knocking rather dents Old Nan's contention that they hate all life and will kill anyone and anything they meet.

Indeed, and as much as the fate of Craster's sons tends to be emphasized, I think the more interesting suggestion of Craster's Keep is the possibility that the Others are not indiscriminate slayers.

While Craster's Keep presents a speculative scenario in which one might be spared, I wonder if there is any pattern or significance to who is attacked. Is it especially bad for one's health to be "wrong" with the gods--eg, to break an oath sworn before a heart tree, to violate the laws of hospitality?

Perhaps not, but I think we at least have enough to determine that the Others are thoughtful and deliberate in their attacks--restraining the wight horde from throwing itself against Mance's gathering, and using Othor and Jaffer as trojan horses.

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On 25/03/2018 at 3:06 PM, Matthew. said:

 

I apologize, because it was not my intent to suggest you were being dismissive--on the contrary, I was actually concerned that you might be taking the theoretical discussion as being implicitly disrespectful of alternative point of views. At least for my part, I never intend for the ideas I'm putting out to be taken as an argument against other interpretations.

Oh good, I'm glad neither of us was in fact criticizing the other (or anyone else for that matter)! I don't mind theoretical discussions at all (after all, deviating from the mainstream is what this thread is known for!), as long as we can also acknowledge that in some cases, the simple explanation may also be valid. I believe we are in agreement. :cheers:

On 25/03/2018 at 4:00 PM, redriver said:

Well said.

I suspect that the error creeps in by ideas being built on erroneous foundations.

Making any connection between Gared and the direwolf featured in Bran's opening chapter seems inappropriate and illogical to me.And any theories that are built upon this notion are going to be rightly questioned.The presence of Gared and the animal in the same chapter is the only link they have.

The idea that Gared,whilst fleeing for his life in abject terror,picked up a heavily pregnant direwolf,and transported her through or by the Wall seems fanciful at best.It precludes the possibility that the direwolf was born and raised south of the Wall and arrived within the juristiction of Winterfell entirely on her own merits

That seems to be the intention of the author.If questions are raised he could no doubt claim it was the work of the old gods.

That aside,I do subscribe to the idea that Martin has made some contextual errors in this work.But given the outstanding quality and complexity of his writing that is excusable,I would say.

You said it better than I ever could. It's not that it's impossible for Gared to have brought her - it's just very unlikely, and (and this is the point I was really trying to make) unnecessary for the story. There are plenty of more likely ways she could have ended up there.

 

On 25/03/2018 at 5:45 PM, Matthew. said:

I think Sam's argument would be that those beasts - particularly the mammoths - are only being encountered in the woods because they are being pressured out of their (presumably) preferred habitats.

Similarly, during the Great Ranging, the desolation and quiet of the Haunted Forest is noted by the rangers on their way to Craster's Keep--not just the emptied villages, but even animals are hard to find:
 

It seems fair to suggest that some of the animals that have fled would have crossed the Wall.

Thank you for finding it for me! I'm not even sure I was trying to say that lots of wild animals were crossing the Wall, only that they were on the move. The only logical direction is south, and that is what many "normal" animals do in the winter. The Wall would be a problem for most, but those traveling down the frozen Milkwater would naturally end up passing through the Gorge. Continuing straight south from there would then lead to Winterfell. 

On a side note - have we considered Gendel and Gorne's tunnels? The Gorge seems much more likely for both Gared and the mother wolf (independently), but it just occurred to me that there is in fact a third way through the Wall that doesn't require being let through by one of the three manned castles. 

On 26/03/2018 at 10:19 AM, LynnS said:

If the Thing is involved with collecting the boys; then perhaps the heavy curse is a devil's bargain to spare wildling boys if boys are only provided by Craster's wives.

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

I guess I'm trying to find the alternate interpretation for Old Nan's story as it relates to current events.  The Thing comes for children with skinchanging abiility, I suspect.  Craster's father may have been such a crowAll skinchangers are brothers if we take Borroq at this word.

Patchface also tells us that under the sea the crows are white as Jon Snow.  Jon could end up being the most powerful warg in the story. 

Let me try. :D 

A bunch of boys die, then come back years later, shambling along. Two NW brothers are on the Wall. "Our former brothers" says the one on the left. "The white cold is rising out there, fellow crow. I can feel it in my bones. They'll be here soon, the 'prentice boys. "

ETA: For real though, I think what the prentice boys saw was an Other taking a sacrifice. It wasn't there for them, it was there for the baby. That's why they survived the encounter. I don't know why it looked different every time, but it could have been different Others or they could have been disguised (after all, sacrificing to the Others is frowned upon). Gared was half-mad after seeing Others, so that fits too. Which leaves only the question of who killed them. I actually think the most likely (but also least magical, and possibly least interesting) possibility is that the human who was providing the sacrifices simply killed them, in order to keep his secret. It worked, too, since thousands of years later the whole thing is still a mystery. 

So that begs the question: did the prentice boys live during the reign of NK, or were there additional black brothers (or even LCs?) sacrificing to the Others? 

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On 25/03/2018 at 5:17 PM, Black Crow said:

I actually agree with most of this and cheerfully admit to cringing at theories or rather proposals that Bloodraven is running everything.

Hence the scenario which I outlined on the previous page suggesting that that given the apparent importance of direwolves, it was the she-wolf rather than Bloodraven or anyone else who was responsible for delivering the cubs both literally and metaphorically.

I still feel that there is a good case for Gared killing/sacrificing here where she needed to die but that is subsidiary to the she-wolf, not Bloodraven - or Rumpelstiltskin for that matter taking her there.

 

The main problem I have with Gared killing her is that from what we know so far, warging doesn't work across the Wall. So even if BR, Rumpelstiltskin or the Old Gods were somehow able to control Gared through the Wall, they shouldn't be able to control the direwolf. So even if we assume she went there on her own (I'm glad we're in agreement on this!) - if she is not being warged to "hold still", then how could a scrawny, half-mad and most likely more than half-starved old little guy like Gared possibly kill her? Bran didn't notice him even being injured or having blood on his clothes. 

Alternatively, if she is being warged, then whoever is doing it could just as easily warg a stag and make it kill her. Animals are much easier to control than humans, after all. 

I think the difference of opinion is based primarily on how we view the broken antler. I 100% agree that if it was in fact a dagger and not a natural piece of antler, this was a sacrifice and in that case, Gared seems like a reasonable choice for executioner. I personally think the tines could have snapped off as it was stabbing the wolf (antlers not being made for deep stabbing after all). The characters seem to focus on the symbolism of the stag killing the wolf, rather than notice that she was killed by a dagger and wondering who did it. So based on their reaction, I tend to think of the antler as natural, and not a tool made by man. 

 

On 25/03/2018 at 5:37 PM, Frey family reunion said:

Maybe I'm thinking of a different passage, but I'm not sure that's correct.  Here is the passage I'm thinking of:

I don't think there is any indication that the 'wild things" are crossing the Wall, it just appears that they are becoming more noticed in the woods (presumably by the rangers).  But it does seem some wildlings are slipping past the Shadow Tower, perhaps through the gorge.

I think the more interesting passage is that fisherfolk are glimpsing white walkers on the shore.  Do we have any idea if these are the same white walkers that Royce, Will, and Edgar come across?  Apparently the fisherfolk are living to spread the tale.  Nor do there appear to be tales of any wights around Eastwatch, which seem to accompany the white walkers.

I agree!! This passage gets overlooked, but what it seems to suggest (as does Craster, and possibly the people of the frozen shore) is that coexistence with the Others is in fact possible. Combined with LN stories of women lying with the Others and NK marrying one, I do believe we are meant to question Old Nan's claims that all they wanted was to destroy all life and hunt maidens with spiders.  

 

On 26/03/2018 at 9:41 AM, 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.

The 19 castles on the Wall matching Craster's 19 daughters sounds like a Preston Jacobs idea. I could be wrong. But I have heard it before. I'm not sure that there is a theory directly associated with it, but it's certainly an interesting observation. 19 is not a number that comes up very often, like 7 or 13. 

But I am VERY intrigued by the thing with many faces!! You are right, it looked different to each of the boys. Faceless Men don't let you see them and talk about it before killing you some time later (besides, who would pay the money to assassinate some prentice boys who were already stuck on the Wall), so what was it??? Did it truly change its face, or did it use a glamour? Why show itself but wait to kill? It apparently looked terrible enough to drive one of them mad, so it wasn't using its powers to make itself look nice ....

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56 minutes ago, MaesterSam said:

But I am VERY intrigued by the thing with many faces!! You are right, it looked different to each of the boys. Faceless Men don't let you see them and talk about it before killing you some time later (besides, who would pay the money to assassinate some prentice boys who were already stuck on the Wall), so what was it??? Did it truly change its face, or did it use a glamour? Why show itself but wait to kill? It apparently looked terrible enough to drive one of them mad, so it wasn't using its powers to make itself look nice ....

I'm speculating that the Things comes to the boys in their dreams with a different face to each boy and this is why their descriptions don't match.  So yes something that comes disguised.  The thing that comes to Bran in his dreams is disguised as a crow and I'm guessing the apprentice boys are being similarly tested.  They may have died as a result of falling from great height, like Euron jumping off a cliff to see if he could fly.  

This would imply that the boys have skinchanging ability and so where do they come from?  Who gives over their boys to the Watch?  The Wildlings give their children with that ability over to a small community of skinchangers.  But has this always been the case?  If there was an option to turn them over to Night Fort; did this happen at any time?

There is the story of Craster's father being a crow and his mother being turned away by the Watch when she brought him to the Wall.  I'm guessing that wasn't always the case and it depends on the LC of Watch and what he thinks of the Wildlings.  

So if the Watch was providing greenseers at one point and then reneges on that bargain; then Craster comes into play; providing the boys himself.  Or rather the community of women, provide the boys using Craster and inbreeding to maintain skinchanging abilities.

The Thing that is seen a hundred years after the death of boys is a strange account.  It also seems like a dream with the description of the boys shambling along behind him in chains. 

This brings Coldhands to mind and so were these really the boys who died or wildling boys turned over to Coldhands.  I suspect that Coldhands and the Thing are different monsters but perhaps they work together.

 

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7 hours ago, MaesterSam said:

The 19 castles on the Wall matching Craster's 19 daughters sounds like a Preston Jacobs idea. I could be wrong. But I have heard it before. I'm not sure that there is a theory directly associated with it, but it's certainly an interesting observation. 19 is not a number that comes up very often, like 7 or 13. 

I'm not so sure. When we discussed about numbers I  counted some of them. There is also a surprising often use of 17 and 13 is most often to describe the age of a character. And GRRM hides 12 in dozen or maybe even in 7 and 5. I'm not so sure about that. Anyway 19 has 21 mentions so far , while thirteen has 66. But you have to remove all the human ages by hand. 

 

6 hours ago, LynnS said:

There is the story of Craster's father being a crow and his mother being turned away by the Watch when she brought him to the Wall.  I'm guessing that wasn't always the case and it depends on the LC of Watch and what he thinks of the Wildlings.  

  Can be anything from a one time event to a change in politics. Snowgate is there for a reason. In the most extreme case the father is Aemon, which would be a one time event and have a whole number of political reasons. By accepting him they could very well create a political acknowledgement. The other extreme case is simply that the father was not long in the NW and died very soon. So nobody in the Watch knows. 

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14 hours ago, MaesterSam said:

 

On a side note - have we considered Gendel and Gorne's tunnels? The Gorge seems much more likely for both Gared and the mother wolf (independently), but it just occurred to me that there is in fact a third way through the Wall that doesn't require being let through by one of the three manned castles. 

 

Frankly no, The gorge seems straightforward if dangerous and allows the she-wolf and Gared to pass the Wall independently of each other. The Black Gate is also relatively easy, but not straightforward and requires Gared to know of it and bring the she-wolf through; the tunnels are a horror where a whole army got lost and would not only require Gared [or somebody else] to pilot the she-wolf but that pilot would need to be intimately acqaint with them.

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9 hours ago, MaesterSam said:

 

I think what the prentice boys saw was an Other taking a sacrifice. It wasn't there for them, it was there for the baby. That's why they survived the encounter. I don't know why it looked different every time, but it could have been different Others or they could have been disguised (after all, sacrificing to the Others is frowned upon). Gared was half-mad after seeing Others, so that fits too. Which leaves only the question of who killed them. I actually think the most likely (but also least magical, and possibly least interesting) possibility is that the human who was providing the sacrifices simply killed them, in order to keep his secret. It worked, too, since thousands of years later the whole thing is still a mystery. 

 

Its certainly possible, although we really don't have enough information to take it very far. What it does do is foreshadow the discovery of the Black Gate. Clearly, as a portal it works both ways and by-passes the wards in the Wall itself, which may be exactly why that magic face has been installed down there to close it off

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