Jump to content
Black Crow

Heresy 208 Winter is Coming

Recommended Posts

Posted (edited)
13 minutes ago, Tucu said:

Qhorin describes Mance like this:

He doesn't sound like a guy that would have one monogamous relationship for years.

Assuming that he would be monogamous during his marriage.  They seem like the type to have an “open” marriage, being hippie  musicians and all. ;)

Edited by Frey family reunion

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
9 hours ago, Matthew. said:

I guess I'm in the Heresy minority on this one, but I really think the story of the silk is more appealing when taken at face value: that it encapsulates some of those qualities of the Free Folk that Mance finds so alluring. The woman's causal generosity with the silk is to be contrasted with the way the kneelers value wealth and status, to be contrasted with the way many in the Watch demonize the Free Folk as a whole; they're not all raiders and murders.

When I alluded to the landsknechts the point I was really making was the impracticality of mending a wool cloak with bits of silk. It quite literally won't hang together. What the landsknechts did was stuff their garments with silk so that it burst out of the deliberately cut slashing. The silk on Mance's cloak isn't a repair but a statement

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
15 hours ago, The Coconut God said:

I think we are going a little bit in circles here, and I probably didn't make myself fully understood.

It doesn't matter what the absolute truth is here, it matters how the story is presented and how it would be interpreted on re-reads. The wildlings are presented in a sympathetic light. They're not monolithic, obviously, some of them are downright horrible, but George goes a long way in trying to show their humanity to the reader. We can empathize with Ygritte, with Tormund, with Dalla, with Mance, with Gilly, with Osha, with Val as much as we hate Craster, the Weeper and Rattleshirt. Why? Because they do and say deeply human things.

And if we can't do it on our own, the "good" characters, who we know are compassionate and intelligent, like Jon, Sam, Bran and Jeor push us into humanizing them by doing it themselves. With most of these characters, we actually witness their mental and emotional process as they do it... and it's not like they are foolish bleeding hearts. They are fully aware of the dangerous side of the wildlings, they try to separate the good from the bad, and they make provisions to protect themselves... they don't appear as blind as Ned was when he warned Cersei or Theon when trusting Ramsay.

On the other hand, the characters who are against the wildlings tend to dehumanize them completely. They want to leave them out there to die, or at most use them in a way that would kill as many of them as possible. Characters like Janos Slynt, Queen Selyse, etc., who are made to appear like clueless xenophobes.

So it's not really me believing Mance's story, but me believing something George himself is saying by corroborating multiple PoV and non-PoV character assessments. Something that happens to align with his own political views, by the way. That the wildlings are just as human as the other characters and many (most?) of them deserve to be saved.

If your scenario is correct, all of the above is a trick, and the real message becomes: You're not supposed to be compassionate, those evil [blank] will always be out to get you. The "bad" characters like Janos Slynt are entirely justified in their position, and the "good" characters are suckers. It's one thing to do this with individual characters, and quite another to turn it into a blanket statement about an entire people.

Again, I'm not comparing you to a fictional-world Holocaust denier because you don't believe Mance... I'm saying the story would make a point of getting you emotionally invested in its own version of a Holocaust threat, only to tell you later that it was orchestrated by its own victims. And I can't imagine George wanting to make that sort of point. I think your only problem is that you are so invested in the "twist" that you don't really see how it would affect the themes and message of the story.

You are projecting too much on that text. If Mance is insincere there, it is because he's trying to pump himself up in front of Jon and make the wildlings look stronger than they actually are. I believe he truly doesn't want to bleed them, but the main reason he doesn't engage in some complex operations is that he fears his people would break hard if parts of such a complex plan went wrong. After all, they broke from a single cavalry charge of rather weak force.

The Watch has no authority to allow the wildlings south of the Wall. The only reason it can be up to them is that North is severely weakened and contested, otherwise they would have sent for the ruling Stark to come up there with an army, and he would have had the final say.

Would you agree that GRRM would prefer to surprise his readers? How many times has he already surprised us? Did anyone see the Red Wedding coming? When I read that scene for the first time, I threw my book across the room! 

To me the truth is scattered like nuggets in amongst a landscape of text. Sometimes you have to read between the lines, or pay attention to physical descriptions and actions rather than what the characters are saying or the POV is thinking. IMO the wildlings are the enemies that smile to Jon's face and sharpen their knives when he's not looking. Melisandre tells Jon, "You have so many enemies. Shall I tell you their names?" And in her fires she sees him surrounded by skulls, which is open to interpretation of course, but I think its symbolic of the wights and those responsible for cultivating them. Some of the wildlings can barely conceal their hatred. Orell for one - even after death, Jon wonders if an eagle can "hate". After the eagle attack Rattleshirt doesn't even bother to hide his hate:

  His face was throbbing. Tormund stood over them bellowing, he saw from his right eye as he rubbed blood from his left. Then there were hoofbeats, shouts, and the clacking of old dry bones. 

  “Bag o’ Bones,” roared Tormund, “call off your hellcrow!” 

  “There’s your hellcrow!” Rattleshirt pointed at Jon. “Bleeding in the mud like a faithless dog!” The eagle came flapping down to land atop the broken giant’s skull that served him for his helm. “I’m here for him.” 

 

After the Watch and Stannis defeated the wildlings and the decision was made to allow them through, the wildlings were forced allegiance before being allowed to pass. If you force the wildlings to kneel they will rise up at the first chance:

  “Free folk do not kneel,” Val told her. 

  “Then they must be knelt,” the queen declared.   

  “Do that, Your Grace, and we will rise again at the first chance,” Val promised. Rise with blades in hand.”

 

 

6 hours ago, Black Crow said:

When I alluded to the landsknechts the point I was really making was the impracticality of mending a wool cloak with bits of silk. It quite literally won't hang together. What the landsknechts did was stuff their garments with silk so that it burst out of the deliberately cut slashing. The silk on Mance's cloak isn't a repair but a statement

I agree its a statement. It flaunts his privileged position.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
22 hours ago, The Coconut God said:

Maybe you shouldn't rely on outdated quotes and formulate your own ideas for a change. Impress me.

It's not for us to impress you.  You are a newbie who seems consistently unaware of what GRRM has explicitly and repeatedly said about his own books for many years.  If you really think he's never going to reveal Jon's parents, you just haven't been paying attention at all.

If you think you can impress us, try.  Bring something a little more probable than "Essos is going to become the main stage of ASOIAF."  

Or if you can't, perhaps you'd be happier on a site called Essos.org?   As opposed to this one.

The essos.org domain is owned by somebody right now, but maybe you could work something out with the owner.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
18 hours ago, Brad Stark said:

Still not convinced the speed of Others and Wights matters, but they likely don't need to stop to rest, sleep or eat.  Even moving 2 mph, they cover 48 miles a day, or over 17000 per year, and can likely get where they need to be.

Not if they do what they did north of the Wall, and branch out east and west to threaten the whole continent.  

The North is just much too big and before they can even get there, the Wall is just too formidable.  The Wall/Popsicles conflict is a major turning point and conflict in this cycle that GRRM's been setting up literally since the prologue of book one.    It certainly is not going to fall easily or quickly.

And let's not forget: After five very long books... spanning multiple years of narrative time... that ate up far over a million words... and with no obstacle such as the Wall blocking them, nor any serious resistance... the Popsicles and wights have still not managed even to get as far south as the Wall.

One glance at a map shows us what that means for the last two books.

Share this post


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

I agree its a statement. It flaunts his privileged position.

I don't know about a privileged position, but as to the statement there are various possibilities, none of them exclusive or contradictory.

Did he really return to the shadow tower with a harlequin cloak and then desert because he wasn't allowed to wear it - or did he have the silk sewn on after he deserted and then create the legend to flaunt his altered allegiance? That sounds much more Mance-like.

The colours still bother me. Is he simply repudiating the black-clad Watch or is there some significance to the red silk?

An obvious connection seems to be the black and red of Targaryen and Blackfyre - more likely the latter as we've discussed before

Or is the alleged Asshai connection significant. He and Mel seem close

Share this post


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

Not if they do what they did north of the Wall, and branch out east and west to threaten the whole continent.  

The North is just much too big and before they can even get there, the Wall is just too formidable.  The Wall/Popsicles conflict is a major turning point and conflict in this cycle that GRRM's been setting up literally since the prologue of book one.    It certainly is not going to fall easily or quickly.

And let's not forget: After five very long books... spanning multiple years of narrative time... that ate up far over a million words... and with no obstacle such as the Wall blocking them, nor any serious resistance... the Popsicles and wights have still not managed even to get as far south as the Wall.

One glance at a map shows us what that means for the last two books.

And what have they done north of the Wall?

Quite a lot in that all or most of the human population has been cleared out, but how has that been accomplished?

In a word fear.

Yes there has been fighting but its mostly been low level stuff. Ser Waymar was ambushed and Mormont complains that he was just part of a growing number of patrols going missing without a trace. On the Wildling side Mance and Tormund speak of the same thing. There are no battles though, and no hordes of dead men flooding over the land. 

Until a targetted attack on Mormont draws the Watch out from behind the Wall and into the open, and the Watch's only field army is destroyed on the Fist on the night before they were to intercept Mance's trek.

Feather has argued that the Wildlings are in league with the blue-eyed lot. I disagree, although Mance probably knows more than he's saying, but I would suggest that given the way they have played things so far, if the blue-eyed lot do come south of the Wall we are going to see more of the same rather than massed hordes of zombies shambling towards an epic battle

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)
9 hours ago, Black Crow said:

When I alluded to the landsknechts the point I was really making was the impracticality of mending a wool cloak with bits of silk. It quite literally won't hang together. What the landsknechts did was stuff their garments with silk so that it burst out of the deliberately cut slashing. The silk on Mance's cloak isn't a repair but a statement

To the bolded: you know that mending with silk is impractical, but does GRRM?

In any case, I agree that the repair is a statement, but given that the 'repair' was made by the healing woman's daughter, it seems that she was the one making a statement--and taken with the overall flow of the conversation, I think Brad's sentiment is as good as any, since one of the comments that Mance follows the story with is that he deserted "for a place where a kiss is not a crime."

It's worth revisiting the fact that that story is not told in a vacuum, it's the end point of a back and forth between Jon and Mance about Mance's desertion.

Mance dismisses the notion that he deserted for a crown, as well as the notion that he deserted for any particular woman, and asks Jon to "guess again" as to why he had deserted:

Quote

"You must guess again, Jon Snow."

Jon considered a moment. "The Halfhand said you had a passion for wildling music."

"I did. I do. That's closer to the mark, yes. But not a hit." Mance Rayder rose, unfastened the clasp that held his cloak, and swept it over the bench. "It was for this."

So, why is a passion for wildling music "closer to the mark," in relation to the story of the cloak, and the overt explanation that he deserted for a place where a kiss is not a crime, and he's free to choose his own cloak?

IMO, the entire point is that Mance loves the Free Folk, and the way they live--in rejecting the notion that he deserted for a crown, he is rejecting the notion that he would seek to turn the Free Folk into a bunch of kneelers, rejecting the idea of a politically ambitious man who seeks to impose his will on others; Mance is King-beyond-the-Wall out of necessity and desperation.

In that sense, I believe that the mystery with Mance is not one of motive, but one of action: that he is primarily motivated by love of the Free Folk, and that the actions he has taken (or will take) in service of that motive are potentially important. Did Mance upset the apple cart with the Others, and play some role in their current hostility? How long has he been searching for the Horn? Is he, even now, with his interest in the Winterfell crypts, still searching for it? 

Edited by Matthew.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)
57 minutes ago, JNR said:

Not if they do what they did north of the Wall, and branch out east and west to threaten the whole continent.  

The North is just much too big and before they can even get there, the Wall is just too formidable.  The Wall/Popsicles conflict is a major turning point and conflict in this cycle that GRRM's been setting up literally since the prologue of book one.    It certainly is not going to fall easily or quickly.

And let's not forget: After five very long books... spanning multiple years of narrative time... that ate up far over a million words... and with no obstacle such as the Wall blocking them, nor any serious resistance... the Popsicles and wights have still not managed even to get as far south as the Wall.

One glance at a map shows us what that means for the last two books.

 

21 minutes ago, Black Crow said:

And what have they done north of the Wall?

Quite a lot in that all or most of the human population has been cleared out, but how has that been accomplished?

In a word fear.

Yes there has been fighting but its mostly been low level stuff. Ser Waymar was ambushed and Mormont complains that he was just part of a growing number of patrols going missing without a trace. On the Wildling side Mance and Tormund speak of the same thing. There are no battles though, and no hordes of dead men flooding over the land. 

Until a targetted attack on Mormont draws the Watch out from behind the Wall and into the open, and the Watch's only field army is destroyed on the Fist on the night before they were to intercept Mance's trek.

Feather has argued that the Wildlings are in league with the blue-eyed lot. I disagree, although Mance probably knows more than he's saying, but I would suggest that given the way they have played things so far, if the blue-eyed lot do come south of the Wall we are going to see more of the same rather than massed hordes of zombies shambling towards an epic battle

 

This is a reply to you both. Why have the white walkers and wights branched out east and west and all the way to Eastwatch, but have yet to show up at the Castle Black gate? I'll have to go back and do more research, but going off memory it would seem the wildlings are conveniently gathered in the areas where the "dead things" are being reported. Not only did Tormund hold back, but some other leaders like Mother Mole who had twice as many at Hardhome, and another group were near the Shadow Tower. You may see this as evidence that they're being hunted or forced south, but I see it as more evidence that the wildlings are the source.

Edited by Feather Crystal

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, JNR said:

After five very long books... spanning multiple years of narrative time... that ate up far over a million words...

Closer to 2 million words, by my estimate.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Feather Crystal said:

... going off memory it would seem the wildlings are conveniently gathered in the areas where the "dead things" are being reported. Not only did Tormund hold back, but some other leaders like Mother Mole who had twice as many at Hardhome, and another group were near the Shadow Tower. You may see this as evidence that they're being hunted or forced south, but I see it as more evidence that the wildlings are the source.

a more prosaic explanation is that when large numbers of people gather together in unfortunate circumstances they tend to drop off their perches 

Share this post


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

Would you agree that GRRM would prefer to surprise his readers? How many times has he already surprised us? Did anyone see the Red Wedding coming? When I read that scene for the first time, I threw my book across the room! 

To me the truth is scattered like nuggets in amongst a landscape of text. Sometimes you have to read between the lines, or pay attention to physical descriptions and actions rather than what the characters are saying or the POV is thinking. IMO the wildlings are the enemies that smile to Jon's face and sharpen their knives when he's not looking. Melisandre tells Jon, "You have so many enemies. Shall I tell you their names?" And in her fires she sees him surrounded by skulls, which is open to interpretation of course, but I think its symbolic of the wights and those responsible for cultivating them. Some of the wildlings can barely conceal their hatred. Orell for one - even after death, Jon wonders if an eagle can "hate". After the eagle attack Rattleshirt doesn't even bother to hide his hate:

Oh, I completely agree with the bolded part. But I still think you are going too far with your wildling theory. George never puts the twist ahead of the characters; he already stated he doesn't want to "pull a Lost". Let's take a look at the categories of secrets in ASoIaF. There are:

  • Major twists that affect the main plot, such as Ned dying or the Red Wedding.
  • Smaller twists about secondary characters that still have a major impact on the story, like Lysa killing Jon Arryn.
  • "Transparent" secrets that George are fairly obvious if you pay attention and may or may not be revealed officially, like R+L=J, Alleras = Sarella.
  • Details about popular background characters that are hidden in the text for astute readers, without a need for them to be fully confirmed or integrated in the plot, like Brienne being descended from Duncan, Tormund sleeping with one of the Mormont women, etc.
  • Things that are hinted at, but far from certain, likely never to be confirmed, like Tywin being a regular at Chataya's.
  • Crackpot material, like Syrio = Jaquen.
  • Hints at past events and magic that are not likely to be touched upon, like the source of Nagga's bones.
  • Parallels between characters that don't have any reason to be exact or explicit, like the parallels you suggested between Doran and Tywin.
  • Cultural Easter eggs for history and literature buffs, which also include pop references like football team mascots used as medieval heraldry.

As you see, there are a lot of layers of "nuggets of truth" to search for on rereads. The major twists, though, are always very logical and straight-forward when you look at them a second time. George doesn't trick the reader by pretending the characters are different than they really are. Catelyn warns Robb about Walder Frey in the first chapter he is introduced. Robb is a little intimidated by Roose. Arya, who is very good at reading people, never reveals herself to Roose at Harrenhal, and gives us a very ominous view of him as early as ACoK. We don't fall for it because George is being dishonest with us, we fall for it because we are blinded by our own expectations. And that's why it's so great.

The wildlings on the other hand, never do anything they wouldn't normally do. Some of them hate the Night's Watch, others hate kneelers; we know all that, it's natural and expected given their history together. Mance isn't entirely honest with Jon, again, that's normal for the circumstances. They might start a fight with the Queen's men or Night's Watch if provoked? Totally expected as well, Castle Black is a powder keg right now. Nothing here requires or even suggests that the wildlings are hatching some sort of complicated plot involving the Others. You have to strain yourself and pick fragments out of context to interpret as symbolism and metaphors to even go there.

You say Mance's clothes make him a "divine predator"... which I have to confess is another Kayne West for me :P I don't even know what you mean, let alone how that is proof of your theory... But it can also be George simply describing the guy's clothes, so we can see it's a mix of wildling furs and Night's Watch equipment. The winged helmet could be a nod to Vercingetorix, the heroic but doomed Gallic king who led a revolt against the Romans... or maybe George wanted Mance and Tormund to look like Asterix and Obelix :D

It's not enough to find a few quotes and say they'd work with your theory. If the theory is true, then in every scene with Jon and Ygritte, you know she is manipulating him, including her death scene. Same for Tormund, Val, Leathers etc. Every time you see the wildlings dying somewhere, it has to make sense that either:

  • they're just pretending
  • Mance made a conscious choice to sacrifice them for the plan

And especially with the latter, you have to believe that the wildlings are willingly going along with this instead of turning against Mance and revealing his plot. And you have to believe nobody in the wildling camp simply has a big mouth, because as Areo Hotha cleverly put it, "someone always tells".

So you see, it would be nothing like the Red Wedding. It would be a twist based on vague metaphors instead of character development, that wouldn't be obvious at all on a re-read, but rather rely on a huge number of characters playing a part for the Night's Watch and the reader alike.

 

My own exodus theory is not just about the twist and the few hints that I could find, but mainly about all the puzzle pieces that currently don't fit anywhere else: White Harbor, the Manderly Fleet, Jon's loan from the Iron Bank, the tensions in Volantis, Pentos and the Tattered Prince, etc. In a story that is already too big, it felt superfluous to have all these plot points that apparently don't go anywhere, so instead of whining about filler, I decided to ask myself "What if they do go somewhere? What if they are actually the biggest hints to TWoW's plot?"... and that's what I came up with.

I'm 99% sure that the Exodus could fit with the rest of the story and resolve the pacing problem and most of the issues with the "filler" in Feast and Dance... but, before Junior and the Old Crow get too angry at me, I'm only ~20-30% sure this is the story George is actually going to tell.

 

6 hours ago, JNR said:

It's not for us to impress you.  You are a newbie who seems consistently unaware of what GRRM has explicitly and repeatedly said about his own books for many years.  If you really think he's never going to reveal Jon's parents, you just haven't been paying attention at all.

If you think you can impress us, try.  Bring something a little more probable than "Essos is going to become the main stage of ASOIAF."  

So far I brought ample support for my theory and addressed all four GRRM quotes that seemed to contradict it: one of them George debunked himself, the second is null and void because it makes a claim about Dany's story in ADwD that clearly didn't turn out to be true, the third never said what you claimed it said (just like I never said I was sure he wouldn't reveal Jon's parents, I only said I'd prefer it that way, and even recognized it as an unpopular opinion!), and the fourth was taken out of context and simply excluded new PoV characters from Essos.

You failed to acknowledge my rebuttals or counter them in any way, but you keep going to your original statement that "GRRM explicitly said" like it was still in play. You're doing the same thing with the discussion about the speed of the Others. Multiple reasonable explanations were given, but you ignore all of them and keep insisting it's impossible. How can a conversation go on like that?

And once again you are strawmanning what I said so you can pretend you "owned" me over something. There's a huge difference between "what I'd like to happen" and "what I think will happen". I would like Jon's parentage to remain hidden because it already serves a purpose as is (characterization for Ned and emotional satisfaction for the reader that Rhaegar and Lyanna's tragic loves story did leave something worthwhile behind) and two books likely wouldn't be enough to build up and resolve an arc where the reveal actually matters. I believe I am still entitled to my opinion regardless of what George chooses to write, but for what it's worth, I prefer to discuss on the text rather than his statements, because the latter often turned out to be wrong.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

Essos will also be hit hard by the coming winter. There is no chance of a successful mass exodus to Essos. This is what we know about the Long Night in Essos:

Quote
As the First Men established their realms following the Pact, little troubled them save their own feuds and wars, or so the histories tell us. It is also from these histories that we learn of the Long Night, when a season of winter came that lasted a generation—a generation in which children were born, grew into adulthood, and in many cases died without ever seeing the spring. Indeed, some of the old wives' tales say that they never even beheld the light of day, so complete was the winter that fell on the world. While this last may well be no more than fancy, the fact that some cataclysm took place many thousands of years ago seems certain. Lomas Longstrider, in his Wonders Made by Man, recounts meeting descendants of the Rhoynar in the ruins of the festival city of Chroyane who have tales of a darkness that made the Rhoyne dwindle and disappear, her waters frozen as far south as the joining of the Selhoru. According to these tales, the return of the sun came only when a hero convinced Mother Rhoyne's many children—lesser gods such as the Crab King and the Old Man of the River—to put aside their bickering and join together to sing a secret song that brought back the day.
It is also written that there are annals in Asshai of such a darkness, and of a hero who fought against it with a red sword. His deeds are said to have been performed before the rise of Valyria, in the earliest age when Old Ghis was first forming its empire. This legend has spread west from Asshai, and the followers of R'hllor claim that this hero was named Azor Ahai, and prophesy his return. In the Jade Compendium, Colloquo Votar recounts a curious legend from Yi Ti, which states that the sun hid its face from the earth for a lifetime, ashamed at something none could discover, and that disaster was averted only by the deeds of a woman with a monkey's tail.

The freezing of the Rhoyne up to the joining of the Selhoru gives us a reference point to the areas that will be survivable. It leaves the areas around Volantis, Slaver's bay, Lhazar, Ghiscar and the area around Qarth. Beyond that is Yi-Ti, but probably too far for an exodus.

Slaver's bay has been destroyed by the wars triggered by the Mother of Dragons and the pale mare. A civil war is brewing in Volantis.

I think that the best chance of survival for small groups of westerosi are on Dorne and in the habitable cave systems. We might see a 90% dead rate, but the survivors can dream of spring until the Long Night ends.

Edited by Tucu

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
12 minutes ago, Tucu said:

Essos will also be hit hard by the coming winter. There is no chance of a successful mass exodus to Essos. This is what we know about the Long Night in Essos:

The freezing of the Rhoyne up to the joining of the Selhoru gives us a reference point to the areas that will be survivable. It leaves the area around Volantis, Slaver's bay Ghiscar and the area around Qarth. Beyond that is Yi-Ti, but probably too far for an exodus.

Slaver's bay has been destroyed by the wars triggered by the Mother of Dragons and the pale mare. A civil war is brewing in Volantis.

I think that the best chance of survival for small groups of westerosi are on Dorne and in the habitable cave systems. We might see a 90% dead rate, but the survivors can dream of spring until the Long Night ends.

If anything, that reinforces the idea that the Long Night is a threat that transcends Westeros, so the resolution should transcend Westeros as well. A land hit hard by winter is still safer than a land where the Others raise the dead to send them after you and it's too cold to light a fire.

Of course, Essos itself will be faced with great instability because of Dany, but that's what's driving the stakes high for the climax, everyone will be struggling to survive... And in a way, the instability is an opportunity for the refugees, because the Free Cities will be too distracted or too weak to drive them away or wrangle them into slavery.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
8 minutes ago, The Coconut God said:

If anything, that reinforces the idea that the Long Night is a threat that transcends Westeros, so the resolution should transcend Westeros as well. A land hit hard by winter is still safer than a land where the Others raise the dead to send them after you and it's too cold to light a fire.

Of course, Essos itself will be faced with great instability because of Dany, but that's what's driving the stakes high for the climax, everyone will be struggling to survive... And in a way, the instability is an opportunity for the refugees, because the Free Cities will be too distracted or too weak to drive them away or wrangle them into slavery.

You are assuming that the WW and the wights are that ancient enemy that hates all living things. I believe that they are the tools of groups that we already met: greenseers, weirwoods, CoTF and their allies. These groups will have an advantage during the coming resource wars.

The people in Essos will face their own resource wars where magic will be used as  a survival tool, but most of the people we know will be part of the conflicts in Westeros.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
21 minutes ago, Tucu said:

You are assuming that the WW and the wights are that ancient enemy that hates all living things. I believe that they are the tools of groups that we already met: greenseers, weirwoods, CoTF and their allies. These groups will have an advantage during the coming resource wars.

The people in Essos will face their own resource wars where magic will be used as  a survival tool, but most of the people we know will be part of the conflicts in Westeros.

I think the Others and the wights are simply one of the hardships of deep winter in the fantasy world of ASoIaF. They don't need to hate the living to do what they do, no more than humans hate forests when they cut them down to build their towns and farms, or wargs hate animals when they break their will and take their skins. They simply move into a new space that becomes available to them and make use of the resources, the same way people would move into the valley left behind by a dried out lake.

Them being a tool for a certain group is another possibility, but I think you are assuming too much if you think this group will end up including the Starks, or that it will reveal itself to more than a small handful of people and become a regular player on the political stage, negotiating and making alliances with our main characters.

If the Others are a tool, their likeliest masters are the CoTF and/or the weirwoods, and what other motivation can they have than to drive humanity away and restore Westeros to what it was in the Dawn Age? If this is the case, a reversal of the migrations of the First Men and the Andals  would be quite poetic, as would be the rekindling of the Valyrian empire brought about by Dany's conquest of Essos. Only this time, instead of the Andals and First Men running away from the Dragonlords, they will run to her for succor.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 minutes ago, The Coconut God said:

I think the Others and the wights are simply one of the hardships of deep winter in the fantasy world of ASoIaF. They don't need to hate the living to do what they do, no more than humans hate forests when they cut them down to build their towns and farms, or wargs hate animals when they break their will and take their skins. They simply move into a new space that becomes available to them and make use of the resources, the same way people would move into the valley left behind by a dried out lake.

Them being a tool for a certain group is another possibility, but I think you are assuming too much if you think this group will end up including the Starks, or that it will reveal itself to more than a small handful of people and become a regular player on the political stage, negotiating and making alliances with our main characters.

If the Others are a tool, their likeliest masters are the CoTF and/or the weirwoods, and what other motivation can they have than to drive humanity away and restore Westeros to what it was in the Dawn Age? If this is the case, a reversal of the migrations of the First Men and the Andals  would be quite poetic, as would be the rekindling of the Valyrian empire brought about by Dany's conquest of Essos. Only this time, instead of the Andals and First Men running away from the Dragonlords, they will run to her for succor.

The CoTF/Weirwoods had made pacts before to ensure coexistence with some groups of men (at least until these men forget). They had the Pact of the Isle of Faces that seem to have worked until the Long Night. Then we have the Last Hero (that might be Brandon the Builder or an ancestor) reaching the CoTF for help and establishing a new pact. When the Long Night ends the Wall was built to create what feels like a reservation for the old races. Generations later we have the Night's King still crossing the Wall through the Black Gate to make sacrifices to the Others.

With the new Long Night approaching a similar accord is likely. We already have Bran in a position to coordinate the survival of certain groups through the wiernet.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 minutes ago, Tucu said:

The CoTF/Weirwoods had made pacts before to ensure coexistence with some groups of men (at least until these men forget). They had the Pact of the Isle of Faces that seem to have worked until the Long Night. Then we have the Last Hero (that might be Brandon the Builder or an ancestor) reaching the CoTF for help and establishing a new pact. When the Long Night ends the Wall was built to create what feels like a reservation for the old races. Generations later we have the Night's King still crossing the Wall through the Black Gate to make sacrifices to the Others.

With the new Long Night approaching a similar accord is likely. We already have Bran in a position to coordinate the survival of certain groups through the wiernet.

The Last Hero started out with 12 men and reached the Children alone. I theorized a similar journey led by Brienne and Jaime, which would be our window to the the origin of the Others and maybe the means of stopping the Long Night before it envelops the whole world, but that's it. You have to wonder though, was the Last Hero in a position to make a deal for all humanity, or was it something else that transpired there?

As for the other pacts, they were made before the Children went into hiding, and humanity broke all of them as far as we know. Why would they make another when they have the upper hand? That is assuming the situation can even be resolved with a pact. Maybe the Others are a failsafe mechanism set to obliterate humanity in case they eradicate the Children, like an automated response nuclear retaliatory strike. Now the Children are dying out on their own and there may not be a way to stop them.

All of this has to be in the background though, due to the small amount of space we have left if the series is to end after 2 more books. That's the main issue with a lot of theory: is it even possible to execute this twist in 2 books without it feeling forced compared to the pacing of the rest of the story? A reveal at the very end that group X is behind the Others and that a deal can be made to allow the main characters and their people to survive would feel very much like an ex-machina, with very little psychological impact on the characters. That's why I believe the Others will be a catalyst rather than a climax.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)
35 minutes ago, The Coconut God said:

The Last Hero started out with 12 men and reached the Children alone. I theorized a similar journey led by Brienne and Jaime, which would be our window to the the origin of the Others and maybe the means of stopping the Long Night before it envelops the whole world, but that's it. You have to wonder though, was the Last Hero in a position to make a deal for all humanity, or was it something else that transpired there?

As for the other pacts, they were made before the Children went into hiding, and humanity broke all of them as far as we know. Why would they make another when they have the upper hand? That is assuming the situation can even be resolved with a pact. Maybe the Others are a failsafe mechanism set to obliterate humanity in case they eradicate the Children, like an automated response nuclear retaliatory strike. Now the Children are dying out on their own and there may not be a way to stop them.

All of this has to be in the background though, due to the small amount of space we have left if the series is to end after 2 more books. That's the main issue with a lot of theory: is it even possible to execute this twist in 2 books without it feeling forced compared to the pacing of the rest of the story? A reveal at the very end that group X is behind the Others and that a deal can be made to allow the main characters and their people to survive would feel very much like an ex-machina, with very little psychological impact on the characters. That's why I believe the Others will be a catalyst rather than a climax.

I expect for the Long Night to be something that can't be stopped. I can only be survived.

Men had to be included as the only two greenseers left that we know of are human. They also make the bulk of the sentient races.

It is a twist that probably started in the first book and the movements of the others continued via their willing and unwilling agents.

- Gared was picked to get the direwolves to the Starks kids via the Black Gate

-Jojen was picked to rescue Bran (the only fresh greenseer) and guide him to the Wall

- Bran woke up Jon's warging abilities.

-Sam was saved by Coldhand to be used to let Bran through the Wall

-Sam and Mormont's raven were used to get a Stark in charge of the NW

-Val crossed the Haunted Forest on her own to reach Tormund

-Jon was used to let the wildlings through the Wall

The Others would not be a normal army, but a magical covert operations group.

Edited by Tucu

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 minutes ago, Tucu said:

I expect for the Long Night to be something that can't be stopped. I can only be survived.

Men had to be included as the only two greenseers left that we know of are human.

It is a twist that probably started in the first book and the movements of the others continued via their willing and unwilling agents.

- Gared was picked to get the direwolves to the Starks via the Black Gate

-Jojen was picked to rescue Bran (the only fresh greenseer) and guide him to the Wall

- Bran woke up Jon's warging abilities.

-Sam was saved by Coldhand to be used to let Bran through the Wall

-Sam and Mormont's raven were used to get a Stark in charge of the NW

-Val crossed the forest on her own to reach Tormund

-Jon was used to let the wildlings through the Wall

The Others would not be a normal army, but a magical covert operations group.

The CoTF could very well be using some humans for their own purposes, I agree with this. Bran and Jojen are likely, but some on your list are highly doubtful. Sam, for one, acted on his own, regardless of what Mormont's raven did, and I highly doubt they are working with the wildlings.

But the most important questions are:

  1. Why must this be brought into the main plot? Just like Littlefinger's role in starting the War of the Five Kings, this doesn't need to be public knowledge in the books. The reader knows and one or two relevant characters may find out, but there's no need to make it a major plot point.
  2. How do you see it playing out over the length of two books if it is? It took Jon 3 books to develop a somewhat constructive relationship with the wildlings over a fairly straight-forward plot that mostly centered on Mance's march on the Wall. How will he go from being resurrected and processing that, to defending the Wall from the Others, to finding out about the Children, to meeting them, developing a rapport and coming to some agreement with them, with a pit stop somewhere to meet Dany, develop a rapport with her so it doesn't feel like her whole arc was irrelevant, and maybe find out R+L=J as well? How can you see this happening over such a short narrative space without the feeling that the story is going through bullet points compared to previous character development speed?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×