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Lost Melnibonean

Soldier Pines and Sentinels

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This...

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Whitetree, the village was named on Sam's old maps. Jon did not think it much of a village. Four tumbledown one-room houses of unmortaredstone surrounded an empty sheepfold and a well. The houses were roofed with sod, the windows shuttered with ragged pieces of hide. And above them loomed the pale limbs and dark red leaves of a monstrous great weirwood.

It was the biggest tree Jon Snow had ever seen, the trunk near eight feet wide, the branches spreading so far that the entire village was shaded beneath their canopy. The size did not disturb him so much as the face . . . the mouth especially, no simple carved slash, but a jagged hollow large enough to swallow a sheep.

Those are not sheep bones, though. Nor is that a sheep's skull in the ashes.

"An old tree." Mormont sat his horse, frowning. "Old," his raven agreed from his shoulder. "Old, old, old."

"And powerful." Jon could feel the power.

Thoren Smallwood dismounted beside the trunk, dark in his plate and mail. "Look at that face. Small wonder men feared them, when they first came to Westeros. I'd like to take an axe to the bloody thing myself."

Jon II, Clash 12

Made me think of this...

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A turn or two later Sam stopped suddenly. He was a quarter of the way around the well from Bran and Hodor and six feet farther down, yet Bran could barely see him. He could see the door, though. The Black Gate, Sam had called it, but it wasn't black at all.

It was white weirwood, and there was a face on it.

A glow came from the wood, like milk and moonlight, so faint it scarcely seemed to touch anything beyond the door itself, not even Sam standing right before it. The face was old and pale, wrinkled and shrunken. It looks dead. Its mouth was closed, and its eyes; its cheeks were sunken, its brow withered, its chin sagging. If a man could live for a thousand years and never die but just grow older, his face might come to look like that.

The door opened its eyes.

They were white too, and blind. "Who are you?" the door asked, and the well whispered, "Who-who-who-who-who-who-who."

"I am the sword in the darkness," Samwell Tarly said. "I am the watcher on the walls. I am the fire that burns against the cold, the light that brings the dawn, the horn that wakes the sleepers. I am the shield that guards the realms of men."

"Then pass," the door said. Its lips opened, wide and wider and wider still, until nothing at all remained but a great gaping mouth in a ring of wrinkles. Sam stepped aside and waved Jojenthrough ahead of him. Summer followed, sniffing as he went, and then it was Bran's turn. Hodorducked, but not low enough. The door's upper lip brushed softly against the top of Bran's head, and a drop of water fell on him and ran slowly down his nose. It was strangely warm, and salty as a tear.

Bran IV, Storm 56

And reminded me of this...

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"Tell me about the children," Bran said. It was important.

"What do you wish to know?"

"Everything."

Maester Luwin tugged at his chain collar where it chafed against his neck. "They were people of the Dawn Age, the very first, before kings and kingdoms," he said. "In those days, there were no castles or holdfasts, no cities, not so much as a market town to be found between here and the sea of Dorne. There were no men at all. Only the children of the forest dwelt in the lands we now call the Seven Kingdoms.

"They were a people dark and beautiful, small of stature, no taller than children even when grown to manhood. They lived in the depths of the wood, in caves and crannogs and secret tree towns. Slight as they were, the children were quick and graceful. Male and female hunted together, with weirwoodbows and flying snares. Their gods were the gods of the forest, stream, and stone, the old gods whose names are secret. Their wise men were called greenseers, and carved strange faces in the weirwoods to keep watch on the woods. How long the children reigned here or where they came from, no man can know.

"But some twelve thousand years ago, the First Men appeared from the east, crossing the Broken Arm of Dorne before it was broken. They came with bronze swords and great leathern shields, riding horses. No horse had ever been seen on this side of the narrow sea. No doubt the children were as frightened by the horses as the First Men were by the faces in the trees. As the First Men carved out holdfasts and farms, they cut down the faces and gave them to the fire. Horror-struck, the children went to war. The old songs say that thegreenseers used dark magics to make the seas rise and sweep away the land, shattering the Arm, but it was too late to close the door. The wars went on until the earth ran red with blood of men and children both, but more children than men, for men were bigger and stronger, and wood and stone and obsidian make a poor match for bronze. Finally the wise of both races prevailed, and the chiefs and heroes of the First Men met thegreenseers and wood dancers amidst the weirwood groves of a small island in the great lake called Gods Eye.

"There they forged the Pact. The First Men were given the coastlands, the high plains and bright meadows, the mountains and bogs, but the deep woods were to remain forever the children's, and no more weirwoods were to be put to the axe anywhere in the realm. So the gods might bear witness to the signing, every tree on the island was given a face, and afterward, the sacred order of green men was formed to keep watch over the Isle of Faces.

"The Pact began four thousand years of friendship between men and children. In time, the First Men even put aside the gods they had brought with them, and took up the worship of the secret gods of the wood. The signing of the Pact ended the Dawn Age, and began the Age of Heroes."

Bran's fist curled around the shiny black arrowhead. "But the children of the forest are all gone now, you said."

"Here, they are," said Osha, as she bit off the end of the last bandage with her teeth. "North of the Wall, things are different. That's where the children went, and the giants, and the other old races."

Maester Luwin sighed. "Woman, by rights you ought to be dead or in chains. The Starks have treated you more gently than you deserve. It is unkind to repay them for their kindness by filling the boys' heads with folly."

"Tell me where they went," Bran said. "I want to know."

"Me too," Rickon echoed.

"Oh, very well," Luwin muttered. "So long as the kingdoms of the First Men held sway, the Pact endured, all through the Age of Heroes and the Long Night and the birth of the Seven Kingdoms, yet finally there came a time, many centuries later, when other peoples crossed the narrow sea.

"The Andals were the first, a race of tall, fair-haired warriors who came with steel and fire and the seven-pointed star of the new gods painted on their chests. The wars lasted hundreds of years, but in the end the six southron kingdoms all fell before them. Only here, where the King in the North threw back every army that tried to cross the Neck, did the rule of the First Men endure. The Andals burnt out the weirwood groves, hacked down the faces, slaughtered the children where they found them, and everywhere proclaimed the triumph of the Seven over the old gods. So the children fled north—"

Bran VII, Game 66

Which leads us to this...

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The sea was closer, only five leagues north, but Asha could not see it. Too many hills stood in the way. And trees, so many trees. The wolfswood, the northmen named the forest. Most nights you could hear the wolves, calling to each other through the dark. An ocean of leaves. Would it were an ocean of water.

...

I cannot go home, she thought, but I dare not stay here much longer. The quiet of the woods unnerved her. Asha had spent her life on islands and on ships. The sea was never silent. The sound of the waves washing against a rocky shore was in her blood, but there were no waves at Deepwood Motte … only the trees, the endless trees, soldier pines and sentinels, beech and ash and ancient oaks, chestnut trees and ironwoods and firs. The sound they made was softer than the sea, and she heard it only when the wind was blowing; then the sighing seemed to come from all around her, as if the trees were whispering to one another in some language that she could not understand.

Tonight the whispering seemed louder than before. A rush of dead brown leaves, Asha told herself, bare branches creaking in the wind. She turned away from the window, away from the woods. I need a deck beneath my feet again. Or failing that, some food in my belly. She'd had too much wine tonight, but too little bread and none of that great bloody roast. The moonlight was bright enough to find her clothes. She donned thick black breeches, a quilted tunic, and a green leather jerkin covered with overlapping plates of steel. Leaving Qarl to his dreams, she padded down the keep's exterior stair, the steps creaking under her bare feet. One of the men walking sentry on the walls spied her making her descent and lifted his spear to her. Asha whistled back at him. As she crossed the inner yard to the kitchens, Galbart Glover's dogs began to bark. Good, she thought. That will drown out the sound of the trees.

...

"To the walls," Asha Greyjoy told her men. She turned her own steps for the watchtower, with TrisBotley right behind her. The wooden watchtower was the tallest thing this side of the mountains, rising twenty feet above the biggest sentinels and soldier pines in the surrounding woods. "There, Captain," said Cromm, when she made the platform. Asha saw only trees and shadows, the moonlit hills and the snowy peaks beyond. Then she realized that trees were creeping closer. "Oho," she laughed, "these mountain goats have cloaked themselves in pine boughs." The woods were on the move, creeping toward the castle like a slow green tide. She thought back to a tale she had heard as a child, about the children of the forest and their battles with the First Men, when thegreenseers turned the trees to warriors.

The Wayward Bride, Dance 26

The first main conflict between the houses Stark and Lannister is all but done except for the time for wolves, and I think the second main conflict with the return of the Dragons has been foreshadowed pretty clearly, but the third main conflict against the Others remains more mysterious. The passages above, though, foreshadow that something akin to the ents and huorns of Tolkein's Middle-earth will play a role. Maybe that's why soldier pines and sentinels are mentioned 54 times. 

ETA

Be sure to check this post below...

http://asoiaf.westeros.org/index.php?/topic/150780-soldier-pines-and-sentinels/&do=findComment&comment=8160078

I had thought about incorporating some of these examples into the OP, but I wasn't sure how to approach it. @Wizz-The-Smith knows what he's about (good taste in music too). 

Edited by Lost Melnibonean

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Something about ‘blood on the steps’ in its various forms in the story was just recently brought to my attention. I will have to read in to this a bit more tomorrow, but maybe the blood on the steps is just as important. 

Also, I think the iron born and trees have a history of being at each other’s throats, not just in mainland tales, but IB tales as well, and kinslaying, or something like that. Need to reread  :blink:  This Asha/Wayward chapter has always been a favorite of mine. 

Kindlaying is definitely a theme here. 

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7 hours ago, Lost Melnibonean said:

It was the biggest tree Jon Snow had ever seen, the trunk near eight feet wide,

This line has always bothered me.  8' diameter is not that big of a tree.  We have cottonwoods that big or bigger here that are only 150 years old, over 100' tall with an 80' spread.  One near my house is hollow and there is room for 3 or 4 people inside.  I wanted him to say it was a least 20' diameter, that would give the impression of a tree that has been there for 1,000s of years or more. 

 

7 hours ago, Lost Melnibonean said:

 The passages above, though, foreshadow that something akin to the ents and huorns of Tolkein's Middle-earth will play a role. Maybe that's why soldier pines and sentinels are mentioned 54 times. 

I am thinking that the references to soldier pines and sentinels was to prepare your mind for the idea that trees are at war--that the trees themselves are watchmen, and soldiers, and enemy combatants. 

"tall sentinels armored in their grey-green needles"

"towering green-clad spears thrusting toward the sky."

 

Who are they at war with?  Humans.  Weirwoods themselves are an evil version of the ents and huorns.  They can't move around, but they can get others to do their bidding (see what I did there?).   

" A shadow emerged from the dark of the wood. It stood in front of Royce. Tall, it was, and gaunt and hard as old bones, with flesh pale as milk. Its armor seemed 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 men who attack Asha are wearing tree camouflage similar to what the CoTF wear. 

" 'these mountain goats have cloaked themselves in pine boughs.'  The trees are on the move"

The Children of the Forest "weave leaves and vines and flowers into their hair, and wear cloaks of leaves." "wearing bark leg-bindings and shirts of woven leaves"

The children have names like Leaf and Ash.

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Bran: Where are the rest of you?

Leaf: Gone down into the earth … Into the stones, into the trees. Before the First Men came all this land that you call Westeros was home to us, yet even in those days we were few. The gods gave us long lives but not great numbers, lest we overrun the world as deer will overrun a wood where there are no wolves to hunt them.

I think the CoTF have lied about how few of them are left.  The are probably hiding in many of the very extensive cave systems that have yet to figure into the story.  Why would Leaf mention the ideas of CoTF overpopulation and needing to cull the herd, just to say it isn't happening?  I am pretty sure Leaf has been lying to Bran the whole time.  She even fed him his friend and weirwood seeds that were going to sprout inside him and trap him in that cave.  Why should we believe her?

Brandon of the Bloody Blade killed enough CoTF to turn an entire lake red with blood.  How many dead CoTF does it take to turn a lake red? 

Then there is Kevan's death sequence

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Ser Kevan was cold as ice, and every labored breath sent a fresh stab of pain through him. He glimpsed movement, heard the soft scuffling sound of slippered feet on stone. A child emerged from a pool of darkness, a pale boy in a ragged robe, no more than nine or ten. Another rose up behind the Grand Maester's chair. The girl who had opened the door for him was there as well. They were all around him, half a dozen of them, white-faced children with dark eyes, boys and girls together.
And in their hands, the daggers.

Children emerge from the darkness with daggers and hack a grown man to pieces.

 

 

Edited by By Odin's Beard

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So the order of those quotes made the saga simple to solve.  Thanks!  

I get why people think the children are the big bad- - the line about deer population explosions being held in check.    The Children's numbers were regulated as part of their nature, ours weren't.    We're the deer.*   He mentioned this because it was the problem facing the children's war effort.   How to overcome such numbers they didn't have:  They used ours.  Our dead as their army.    (Even though that has nothing to do with gods of Nature, so it seemed out of character for them... until I saw it as a corrective action for how human overbreeding breaks away from nature).   But it wasn't supposed to go down this way, which is the children's saving grace- - Others attacking westeros was supposed to only be the threat meant to keep the First Men faithful to the Pact.  They're not evil, the forest kids.   They're appropriately ferocious for the longterm extinction situation they're trapped in.  The weirs are sinister in aspect, like Nature's spiders have sinister design but without being E- vil.   The weapon of zombie armies was unleashed during the long night and men saw the need to come to the table as a result.   The threat of Round Two coming from the Others then kept men honest.  It worked.   

.....then the damn Andals came and wrecked it.   Men were now in breach of the Pact.  And the re- activation of the Otherisation swept the nation.   I think the Pact extended beyond death.  The isle of faces tree carvings bound the souls of the signatories, their bloodlines were beholden to the Pact like a dormant curse , and if Man was ever in full violation of the truce the greenmen's descendents would be on the hook to make amends for it.   By transmogrifying.   Not into the more desireable Black Gate Guy version of joining with the weir for immortal retirement years; rather they became form-frozen into the unpleasant Othery avengers of the Children.  As their human ancestors had agreed to.   Go today to the Gods' Eye and dig up and smash all the roots of those trees and you may kill the Others off?  ( Not that i want you to do that.)   But i do wonder: when the Wall gets defeated,  will we see the white walkers make a B- line straight for the GodsEye to address some issues they've long been kept from attending to.

Wow, i forgot about how the guy animating the Black Gate basically gives us a green light to imagine the weirwoods being animated treants like that during the prehistoric era.  Wow.  Crushing people in those mouths.   

* re:  we're the deer.   The ones overpopulating the joint without our own "wolves" to keep us in check.  Again, whoa.  The Starks as the first men's reps were supposed to keep mankind in check?  Thin the herd of fools?    Not let Man run amok again.   I get the feeling there must always be a stark at winterfell because , as first men in good standing, their "magic" ability is they can tell the Others to stand down.   Like, "hey, we've got this.  Give us humans a chance to police ourselves first, before you....do it your way."   I.E. the starks can hold the Others to the bylaws of the Pact in a pinch by blocking the cold ones' path.  But if Others peer over the wall and see no first men at their post?   Then it's on.  They assume it's only Andals now , whom they fully intend to disrespect by arranging their severed limbs into a haiku.   Simplified, but something like that.  

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6 hours ago, The Mother of The Others said:

.....then the damn Andals came and wrecked it.   Men were now in breach of the Pact.  And the re- activation of the Otherisation swept the nation. 

I agree that humans are the deer that need to heavily be culled.  I think George went to great effort to make us hate nearly every human on Westeros, and look forward to their demise.  I think he might have a pretty dim view of humanity (which I share).

 

But the thing is that the Andals were invited over through dream visions

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when Hugor of the Hill received his vision of the bounty that would one day belong to the Andals.

Aegon was invited over through a dream

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t was a great moment, at last unifying the realm from the Wall to the Summer Sea as Aegon the Conqueror had once dreamed

Daenys the Dreamer was invited over through a dream

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But Lord Aenar's maiden daughter Daenys, known forever afterward as Daenys the Dreamer, had foreseen the destruction of Valyria by fire. And when the Doom came twelve years later, the Targaryens were the only dragonlords to survive.

Daenerys is invited over through her dragon dreams and Quaithe

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Dany finally fell to sleep, to dream queer, half-formed dreams of smoke and fire. . .  "To reach the west, you must go east."

 

All these people were invited through dreams to invade Westeros and immediately start wars.  I think that is why they were invited, to start war and bring bloodshed to feed the trees.  They let our numbers get high enough, then call in the invaders to thin us out--that is the Ragnarok cycle.

 Were the First Men invited over also to thin the Children?  I don't think the weirwood cared that much that the Children got butchered, I think it loves their blood and sacrifice just as much as regular human blood. 

If there really is a pact, I think is one that agrees that humans will be culled every few thousand years in exchange for relative peace in the meantime.

This time around Westeros will be invaded from all directions.  But I do agree that it is Starks who lead the culling from the North.  They are the harsh kings of judgement and death. 

When that Other was checking out Royce's sword to see what it was made from, if it had be Eddard with Ice, would that Other have bowed down to Eddard?  I think he would have.

 

 

 

 

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10 hours ago, By Odin's Beard said:

This line has always bothered me.  8' diameter is not that big of a tree.  We have cottonwoods that big or bigger here that are only 150 years old, over 100' tall with an 80' spread.

He's talking about a trunk that's eight feet (2.4 m) wide, not the tree's crown. That's just its diameter, not a circumference. I've never seen a cottonwood any near that size, nor a Ponderosa pine. I haven't yet been fortunate enough to see the California redwoods, but they would be equivalent, I suspect.

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@By Odin's Beard Great points all

Fine catch about Hugor, The Conqueror and co. all being possibly being "invited" to Westeros through dreams.

Your idea about a Westerosi Ragnarok is pretty cool, too.

@Lost Melnibonean Interesting OP, dude.

 54 times? Madness!

That, and the quotes you provided do seem to point towards something big relating to the soldiers and sentinels. 

 

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2 hours ago, By Odin's Beard said:

I agree that humans are the deer that need to heavily be culled.  I think George went to great effort to make us hate nearly every human on Westeros, and look forward to their demise.  I think he might have a pretty dim view of humanity (which I share).

But the thing is that the Andals were invited over through dream visions

Aegon was invited over through a dream

Daenys the Dreamer was invited over through a dream

Daenerys is invited over through her dragon dreams and Quaithe

All these people were invited through dreams to invade Westeros and immediately start wars.  I think that is why they were invited, to start war and bring bloodshed to feed the trees.  They let our numbers get high enough, then call in the invaders to thin us out--that is the Ragnarok cycle.

 Were the First Men invited over also to thin the Children?  I don't think the weirwood cared that much that the Children got butchered, I think it loves their blood and sacrifice just as much as regular human blood. 

If there really is a pact, I think is one that agrees that humans will be culled every few thousand years in exchange for relative peace in the meantime.

This time around Westeros will be invaded from all directions.  But I do agree that it is Starks who lead the culling from the North.  They are the harsh kings of judgement and death. 

When that Other was checking out Royce's sword to see what it was made from, if it had be Eddard with Ice, would that Other have bowed down to Eddard?  I think he would have.

I don't go in for the freaky, men are bad theories, or Bloodraven and the Singers are the true evil theories, but I gotta say you make some really intriguing points here. Are you familiar with the Heresey threads? I think you'd like it over there. 

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1 hour ago, zandru said:

He's talking about a trunk that's eight feet (2.4 m) wide, not the tree's crown. That's just its diameter, not a circumference. I've never seen a cottonwood any near that size, nor a Ponderosa pine. I haven't yet been fortunate enough to see the California redwoods, but they would be equivalent, I suspect.

I have seen the redwoods. There is this one tree, named Sherman, that is f#@%!ng huge. It has a fence around it. Let me look that up... Yeap, it's a bigun... 

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The General Sherman Tree is the world's largest tree, measured by volume. It stands 275 feet (83 m) tall, and is over 36 feet (11 m) in diameter at the base. Sequoia trunks remain wide high up. Sixty feet above the base, the Sherman Tree is 17.5 feet (5.3 m) in diameter.

https://www.nps.gov/seki/learn/nature/sherman.htm

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Perhaps the diameter of the tree is based more on locality.

 

To me, I have never seen a tree in New England with a trunk that large in diameter. Pines, Oaks, etc. don't typically grow that wide.

 

Maybe it is a northern thing. Have never seen a cottonwood. What climate zone are they in?

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1 hour ago, zandru said:

He's talking about a trunk that's eight feet (2.4 m) wide,  That's just its diameter, not a circumference.

Come on my dude, you don't think I know the difference between diameter and circumference?  I have taken a tape measure out there an measured them.  ~8' diameter, >20' circumference.  The record holder cottonwood is almost 12 feet in diameter, with 36 foot circumference.

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1 hour ago, Lost Melnibonean said:

I don't go in for the freaky, men are bad theories, 

I don't want to derail this thread too much, but I am learning about George's other writings, and in the Tuf Voyaging series he writes himself as a god who wipes out an entire planet of aliens who had an overpopulation problem that they refused to solve themselves.  I think that is where we are headed.

I will check out the heresy stuff.

I have been to Sequoia National Park twice and it is my favorite park by a long shot.  Though the trees in Olympic National Park are pretty good too.

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3 hours ago, Lost Melnibonean said:

I have seen the redwoods. There is this one tree, named Sherman, that is f#@%!ng huge.

Holy cow! I must get out there to see these trees, before they're all gone.

1 hour ago, By Odin's Beard said:

Come on my dude, you don't think I know the difference between diameter and circumference? 

Well, I had hoped so, but you continued on to quote crown diameter, so I wasn't sure. It's clear there are some impressive trees out there that I haven't yet seen. There are a good number of cottonwoods here (Thanks, Mayor Clyde Tingley!), but none so huge.

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1 hour ago, zandru said:

Holy cow! I must get out there to see these trees, before they're all gone.

Well, they have a fence around that one, and I haven't seen any Andals in California. 

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21 hours ago, Lost Melnibonean said:

The passages above, though, foreshadow that something akin to the ents and huorns of Tolkein's Middle-earth will play a role. Maybe that's why soldier pines and sentinels are mentioned 54 times. 

Hey LM.  :)

Yep I agree, over on the Bran's Growing Powers thread we came to the same conclusion after researching all the different examples of personified trees and their actions.  If this idea does come to fruition then I'm not sure how Grrm would go about it, I'm not convinced he'll have them uproot and stroll about ala Tolkien [although a possibility] but rather activate the trees as martial forces while playing a key role in the battles to come. 

For example, forests closing in around certain forces [typical fantasy technique, Haunted Forest etc] or enabling a pathway for one while not the other.  Branches grabbing, tugging or catching weapons/clothing to inhibit a strike or passageway.  Exposing some while hiding others via subtle changes in the trees positioning, thickness of foliage, dropping snow at an opportune moment.  Tripping people with their roots etc etc........

We see this sort of personification in the text anyway but when placed at a critical juncture within the story it could have far more significance, and become more obvious to the reader that the trees are actually having such influence.  Here's some examples in the text of what I'm talking about............

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“Behind him, he heard the soft metallic slither of the lordling’s ringmail, the rustle of leaves, and muttered curses as reaching branches grabbed at his longsword and tugged on his splendid sable cloak”.

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 "Last night I dreamed of that time Lysa and I got lost while riding back from Seagard. Do you remember? That strange fog came up and we fell behind the rest of the party. Everything was grey, and I could not see a foot past the nose of my horse. We lost the road. The branches of the trees were like long skinny arms reaching out to grab us as we passed. Lysa started to cry, and when I shouted the fog seemed to swallow the sound.''  

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''The sky was a gloom of cloud, the woods dead and frozen. Roots grabbed at Theon's feet as he ran, and bare branches lashed his face, leaving thin stripes of blood across his cheeks. He crashed through heedless, breathless, icicles flying to pieces before him. Mercy, he sobbed.''

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Everything turned inside out and upside down, and Bran found himself back inside his own skin, half-buried in the snow. The burning wight loomed over him, etched tall against the trees in their snowy shrouds. It was one of the naked ones, Bran saw, in the instant before the nearest tree shook off the snow that covered it and dropped it all down upon his head.

The next he knew, he was lying on a bed of pine needles beneath a dark stone roof. The cave. I'm in the cave. His mouth still tasted of blood where he'd bitten his tongue, but a fire was burning to his right, the heat washing over his face, and he had never felt anything so good. Summer was there, sniffing round him, and Hodor, soaking wet. Meera cradled Jojen's head in her lap. And the Arya thing stood over them, clutching her torch.

"The snow," Bran said. "It fell on me. Buried me."

"Hid you. I pulled you out." Meera nodded at the girl. "It was her who saved us, though. The torch … fire kills them."

This idea of having martial trees is of course reinforced by the 54 mentions of soldier and sentinel trees, an army of watchers ready to take up arms when necessary.  We have text that backs this up, the trees are described as armoured warriors, cloaked soldiers and as taking battle formation....

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The trees stood beneath him, warriors armored in bark and leaf, deployed in their silent ranks awaiting the command to storm the hill.  Black, they seemed … it was only when his torchlight brushed against them that Jon glimpsed a flash of green.  Faintly, he heard the sound of water flowing over rocks.  Ghost vanished in the underbrush.  Jon struggled after him, listening to the call of the brook, to the leaves sighing in the wind.  Branches clutched at his cloak, while overhead thick limbs twined together and shut out the stars.

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Where before there had been silence, now he heard: wind in the trees, Hodor’s breathing, the elk….…

Summer ran.  Across the lake he raced, his paws kicking up sprays of snow behind him.  The trees stood shoulder to shoulder, like men in a battle line, all cloaked in white. 

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In the godswood the snow was still dissolving as it touched the earth.  Steam rose off the hot pools, fragrant with the smell of moss and mud and decay.  A warm fog hung in the air, turning the trees into sentinels, tall soldiers shrouded in cloaks of gloom.  During the daylight hours, the steamy wood was often filled with northmen come to pray to the old gods, but at this hour Theon Greyjoy found he had it all to himself.

And in the heart of the wood the weirwood waited with its knowing red eyes.  Theon stopped by the edge of the pool and bowed his head before its carved red face. 

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The woods were on the move, creeping toward the castle like a slow green tide. She thought back to a tale she had heard as a child, about the children of the forest and their battles with the First Men, when the greenseers turned the trees to warriors.

This subtle version of Tolkien's Ents is my interpretation of what may happen, but there are passages of text that would support/foreshadow a more mobile version of events....

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Just north of Mole's Town they came upon the third watcher, carved into the huge oak that marked the village perimeter, its deep eyes fixed upon the kingsroad. That is not a friendly face, Jon Snow reflected. The faces that the First Men and the children of the forest had carved into the weirwoods in eons past had stern or savage visages more oft than not, but the great oak looked especially angry, as if it were about to tear its roots from the earth and come roaring after them. Its wounds are as fresh as the wounds of the men who carved it.

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But a sudden shout snapped her head about before she could leap. The ferrymen were rushing forward, poles in hand. For a moment she did not understand what was happening. Then she saw it: an uprooted tree, huge and dark, coming straight at them. A tangle of roots and limbs poked up out of the water as it came, like the reaching arms of a great kraken. The oarsmen were backing water frantically, trying to avoid a collision that could capsize them or stove their hull in. The old man had wrenched the rudder about, and the horse at the prow was swinging downstream, but too slowly. Glistening brown and black, the tree rushed toward them like a battering ram.

The second quote is a tree floating in a river but serves the same purpose of describing an uprooted and personified tree attacking people. 

As I said previously, I tend to think it will be the more subtle version if this line of thinking happens at all, but hey, this is a fantasy series so anything is possible.  There are more examples but it's late here and wanted to post the basic idea, I'll keep my eye on developments and post again.  Hopefully this thread unearths more textual support to either of these ideas, and nice thread by the way.  :D  

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12 hours ago, Lost Melnibonean said:

I don't go in for the freaky, men are bad theories, or Bloodraven and the Singers are the true evil theories

I always forget to mention this one, I think it leaves little room for doubting the weirwoods real intentions.

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the island remained a perilous place for outsiders, for the Empress of Leng was known to have congress with the Old Ones, gods who lived deep below the ruined subterranean cities, and from time to time the Old Ones told her to put all the strangers on the island to death. This is known to have happened at least four times in the island's history if Colloquo Votar's Jade Compendium can be believed.

They are harvesting us for blood and they have done it multiple times in the past. 

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The tree reached out to scratch Jim's right nipple.

In writing workshops they encourage the use of active verbs.   Forests are sloths already as is, so you kind of need to punch things up by describing the trees as actively touching people's junk.   Pervy trees beat passive trees for holding our interest.

'Sentinels' imply not moving, so...  my guess is we won't see trees pimp slapping wights.  And soldier pines, who hasn't seen a forest and felt like it was an army of trees.  The 54 mentions reinforce how Most trees are inert, which only reminds you by contrast how some trees aren't so inert.  In a world with some trees that watch you with Odin eyes, every tree feels that much spookier.   The weir generals can't be used all the time on these pages or they'd get overexposed and boring,  so Georgie spruces up the regular dumb trees with action verbs to remind you that just because his forests may be empty in that particular chapter , that doesn't mean they're uninhabited.

 

Edited by The Mother of The Others
Bass Flavored Yogurt

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4 hours ago, By Odin's Beard said:

I always forget to mention this one, I think it leaves little room for doubting the weirwoods real intentions.

They are harvesting us for blood and they have done it multiple times in the past. 

I'd like to see what you might think of the ideas here

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Sorry to get so mundane on this thread, but without any deeper ASoIaF analysis, I've always just liked GRRM's literary metaphors in describing trees. Soldier pines and sentinels... obviously another kind of evergreen, needle bearing tree, perhaps akin to some kind of spruce or fir. The point is that it immediately evokes an image, an idea in the readers' minds.

I also like it that people in-universe seem to know these trees by these names, sentinels and soldiers. It could just be descriptive for them nowadays, but it could be an echo of an older time when trees - all trees -  held more spiritual meaning for the people.

Trees, woods, still hold some spiritual meaning to people in my country today, and we've been Christianised from the 11th, 12th century onwards. Even today, one of the favourite relaxations is to "walk in the woods" (or ski, in the winter). We're regular tree-huggers here, lol.

Not in the OP, but I'm interested in birds in ASoIaF as expressions of spirituality. My people's pre-Christian religion apparently placed great store in birds, there's loads of bird imagery starting with the creation myth (a waterbird's egg cracked in half to create heaven and earth) to the ideas of afterlife (flying in the sky, or heaven - the words are the same in my language - with the birds). In fact, the asteroid belt visible to Earth, commonly called the Milky Way or similar in most European languages, is called Linnunrata, the birds' way, in my language. Indeed, to this day, modern 21st century, perfect, peaceful home - personal or national - is called lintukoto, bird home.

I don't even particularly like birds.

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