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Heresy 208 Winter is Coming

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6 hours ago, Brad Stark said:

Do we have anything from GRRM saying the Watch would fight their ancient foes?  I don't think the synopsis was worded that way,  and it tells us a lot about the history of the Watch if he did.

I was going by this passage:

The greatest danger of all, however, comes from the north, from the icy wastes beyond the Wall, where half-forgotten demons out of legend, the inhuman others, raise cold legions of the undead and the neverborn and prepare to ride down on the winds of winter to extinguish everything that we would call "life." The only thing that stands between the Seven Kingdoms and and endless night is the Wall, and a handful of men in black called the Night's Watch. Their story will be the heart of my third volume, The Winds of Winter. The final battle will also draw together characters and plot threads left from the first two books and resolve all in one huge climax.

The phrase "ancient enemies" isn't used but it was the Watch [not some lone hero with a flashy sword] who supposedly defeated the blue-eyed lot first time around and Mormont laments the Watch having firgotten who the real enemy is. 

Edited by Black Crow

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The migrations from Essos to Westeros were of people fleeing from the Doom and from the dragonlords. It seems logical that as the white walkers and wights make their way south that people would flee from them or die. It may be that many just keep heading south to Kings Landing and the Reach before catching ships, but some may leave from the Fingers.

IMO the Wall is already blowing away - the magic that was sealed into is being released, and it will dissipate like a mountain blowing in the wind just as Mirri described to Dany. It won't blow up or crack into large pieces as some expect, but rather blow away as a huge blizzard, and it will take years. The Long Night lasted a whole generation, so in theory it may take a whole generation for the Wall to blow down. All that ice and magic contained in the Wall is what will bring on a second Long Night. The Wall was 700 feet tall. That's a lot of "winter" stored up, and it will eventually reach the furthest shores of Westeros and beyond.

Meanwhile, Winterfell will become the home of the Others, which in my opinion will be the wildlings. The walls of Winterfell have warm water circulating throughout its walls, protecting the people who will take refuge inside.

There will have to be another Last Hero to stop the people practicing ice magic, but winter will have to be allowed to run its course before spring can come.

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1 hour ago, Feather Crystal said:

IMO the Wall is already blowing away - the magic that was sealed into is being released, and it will dissipate like a mountain blowing in the wind just as Mirri described to Dany. It won't blow up or crack into large pieces as some expect, but rather blow away as a huge blizzard, and it will take years. The Long Night lasted a whole generation, so in theory it may take a whole generation for the Wall to blow down. All that ice and magic contained in the Wall is what will bring on a second Long Night. The Wall was 700 feet tall. That's a lot of "winter" stored up, and it will eventually reach the furthest shores of Westeros and beyond.

That's a brilliant idea, I never thought the fall of the Wall could connect so well visually with Mirri's prophecy. The Others and the wights don't really need the Wall to fall all at once, technically speaking they only need the wards to be removed.

I still don't buy that the wildlings = the Others, though. The wildlings need to get to Braavos! The Lyseni slave ship they captured already set a precedent for this to be a  plot point in TWoW!

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1 hour ago, The Coconut God said:

That's a brilliant idea, I never thought the fall of the Wall could connect so well visually with Mirri's prophecy. The Others and the wights don't really need the Wall to fall all at once, technically speaking they only need the wards to be removed.

I still don't buy that the wildlings = the Others, though. The wildlings need to get to Braavos! The Lyseni slave ship they captured already set a precedent for this to be a  plot point in TWoW!

Its not a new idea, we've discussed it before in the light of this passage::commie:

Sam rolled onto his side, eyes wide as the Other shrank and puddled, dissolving away. In twenty heartbeats its flesh was gone, swirling away in a fine white mist. Beneath were bones like milkglass, pale and shiny, and they were melting too. Finally only the dragonglass dagger remained, wreathed in steam as if it were alive and sweating.

I'm pleased we're agreed though that Craster's boys and the Wildlings aint one and the same, but there aint enough Essosi straws to make a robe, let alone a raft 

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6 hours ago, Black Crow said:

I was going by this passage:

The greatest danger of all, however, comes from the north, from the icy wastes beyond the Wall, where half-forgotten demons out of legend, the inhuman others, raise cold legions of the undead and the neverborn and prepare to ride down on the winds of winter to extinguish everything that we would call "life." The only thing that stands between the Seven Kingdoms and and endless night is the Wall, and a handful of men in black called the Night's Watch. Their story will be the heart of my third volume, The Winds of Winter. The final battle will also draw together characters and plot threads left from the first two books and resolve all in one huge climax.

The phrase "ancient enemies" isn't used but it was the Watch [not some lone hero with a flashy sword] who supposedly defeated the blue-eyed lot first time around and Mormont laments the Watch having firgotten who the real enemy is. 

We have various accounts,  including the Last Hero, AA with a flashy sword,  a woman with a monkey's tale, Jornaman and Stark working together.  GRRM confirming the Watch was around and fought the Others would be huge.

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11 minutes ago, Black Crow said:

I'm pleased we're agreed though that Craster's boys and the Wildlings aint one and the same, but there aint enough Essosi straws to make a robe, let alone a raft 

But we already have this wonderful foreshadowing that King Jon the Warg will see through Arya's faceless disguise:

Quote

When she stopped to watch and listen for a moment, Tagganaro glanced at her without recognition, but Casso[, King of Seals] barked and clapped his flippers. He knows me, the girl thought, or else he smells the fish.

How can the King of Seals metaphor work if Jon doesn't set forth from Seal Rock with his northmen and wildlings dressed in furs to cross the Narrow Sea on ships bearing the Merman flag? In Latin, Casso meant "to bring to naught, to destroy", and in Italian one of its meanings is "deprived/dispossessed". The king of a destroyed land, leading his dispossessed people into exile. Sneaky George :ph34r:

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19 hours ago, Matthew. said:

If its the Horn that breaks the Wall, and the nature of that destruction is total, then there won't be a series of battles along the Wall

How do you know where the Popsicles will attack, or that it will only be at one point, or that even if it is at one point, they won't, on the southern side, spread out east and west?  

I think it's very likely, based on their behavior of the last five books, that that's just what they'll do.  

Making a beeline from A to B has never been their thing, whereas spreading over the continent and overcoming anything and anyone they find is their thing.

And personally, I don't think the issue is going to be that the Wall literally vanishes or similar; that just seems preposterous to me.  It's three hundred miles of ice seven hundred feet high and it's not going anywhere.  The failure of the ward, I think, is going to be the failure of the Wall.

19 hours ago, Matthew. said:

the Wall falling would be the climax of one book, and the following book would have Winterfell already in full-on panic mode

This has historically been my expectation too.  

And then, I thought, ADOS would represent a finale in the North, and following a relatively brief denouement, the series would end.

Lately I'm starting to wonder if GRRM is instead going to try to do a super-extended, Tolkienian aftermath sequence, though, based on his gushing opinion of what JRRT did in the Return of the King re the Scouring of the Shire.  

If that happens, then obviously GRRM is going to have to compress his story even more to make room for that very long aftermath sequence inside the last two books, and thus, TWOW would have to be even faster and more interesting a read than I expected.  

But this would require GRRM to write in a much more efficient manner than he has in the TWOW sample chapters, so I wonder if, instead, he's just going to decide there will be eight books, so he can do his lengthy aftermath stuff.  Which... gah.

19 hours ago, Matthew. said:

we haven't seen anything that shows deliberation in the way they choose their targets

Yeah, I'm talking about big-picture strategy that requires knowledge of the size and layout and power structure of the continent of Westeros.  

If they haven't got a map, they haven't got writing, and have no idea what lies south of the Wall, and know little/nothing about human government or power... then the odds they will proceed immediately to Winterfell or the South... having somehow gotten past the Wall, are close to zero.  They will instead do more or less exactly what they did north of the Wall.  

So should the Wall fall, that is going to create a shockwave as the news of it finds its way south, which is not going to remain idle.  The Popsicles and wights will be trying to scrub the entire North of resistance, and this will give what Tolkien called "the world of men" enough time to build some sort of strategy and response.  

In any case, the odds of the Popsicles and wights somehow scrubbing the entire North of resistance and then heading south of the Neck, in one book that covers only a few months or a year, appear to be remarkably low.  Which I think we agree about.

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49 minutes ago, Brad Stark said:

GRRM confirming the Watch was around and fought the Others would be huge.

There's certainly a canonical hint that such was the case.

Quote

The music grew wilder, the drummers joined in, and Hother Umber brought forth a huge curved warhorn banded in silver. When the singer reached the part in "The Night That Ended" where the Night's Watch rode forth to meet the Others in the Battle for the Dawn, he blew a blast that set all the dogs to barking.

But, of course, this is just a song made up later (how much later?), and as with so much discussed in Heresy, we have no way to know whether such a thing happened or not.

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Also, re Dany and what she considers home, this from her very last chapter is interesting:

Quote

She had no other drink but the morning dew that glistened on the tall grass, and no food at all unless she cared to eat the grass. I could try eating ants. The little yellow ones were too small to provide much in the way of nourishment, but there were red ants in the grass, and those were bigger. "I am lost at sea," she said as she limped along beside her meandering rivulet, "so perhaps I'll find some crabs, or a nice fat fish." Her whip slapped softly against her thigh, wap wap wap. One step at a time, and the stream would see her home.

Here she is literally starving and lost and alone.   She's so desperate she considers eating grass and ants.

Naturally she thinks of Meereen, which is the most local place that could solve her problems: a place she can get food, shelter, friends.

But the same exact chapter shows us what she considers home when she is not starving and lost and alone:

Quote

North they flew, beyond the river, Drogon gliding on torn and tattered wings through clouds that whipped by like the banners of some ghostly army. Dany glimpsed the shores of Slaver's Bay and the old Valyrian road that ran beside it through sand and desolation until it vanished in the west. The road home.

Because if you fly north of Meereen, and home is to the west... then Meereen quite obviously can't be home. 

Home is, in her mind, someplace far to the west of Slaver's Bay.  

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38 minutes ago, JNR said:

There's certainly a canonical hint that such was the case.

But, of course, this is just a song made up later (how much later?), and as with so much discussed in Heresy, we have no way to know whether such a thing happened or not.

We have more hinting that something is off with our understanding of the history of the Watch.  The infamous list of 674 comes to mind. 

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Since white walkers are magical creatures, they shouldn't be bound to human restrictions on travel. Just like dragons can travel great distances by flying, I'm thinking white walkers can ride the cold, high winds and appear anywhere where conditions allow for their presence.

White walkers are frequently referred to as shadows. After Melisandre's shadowbaby disappeared Stannis was still alive, but weakened by the experience. We don't know for sure the process to create white walkers, but I suspect it includes blood sacrifice like the dragon hatching ritual did. If dragons are fire made flesh with the souls of humans inside, then ice made flesh would also have humans inside. It would make sense for there to be a type of rebirth - a transformation from human into ice. 

Reading over the Prologue to GOT hints at how a group of eight wildlings may have been sighted (by Will) right as they began this transformation. They are all laying as if asleep, but by the time Will brings Waymar Royce and Gared back to where he saw them, they were gone. Will noted that the firepit had not been used. Recall that Dany used a pyre to hatch the eggs, but if humans can be transformed into white walkers, then the cold would be used to "burn" the bodies to death, just as night is falling with a full moon.

How many white walkers come out of the woods to kill Waymar? I'm thinking the sole woman up the tree with the "far-eyes" was the priestess that was conducting the transformation, and I suspect she climbed down and walked away remaining human, with only the seven men being transformed.

PROLOGUE - (some bits omitted for clarity and to shorten)

  “The camp is two miles farther on, over that ridge, hard beside a stream,” Will said. “I got close as I dared. There’s eight of them, men and women both. No children I could see. They put up a lean-to against the rock. The snow’s pretty well covered it now, but I could still make it out. No fire burning, but the firepit was still plain as day. No one moving. I watched a long time. No living man ever lay so still.”

  “Did you see any blood?”

  “Well, no,” Will admitted.

  “Did you see any weapons?”

  “Some swords, a few bows. One man had an axe. Heavy-looking, double-bladed, a cruel piece of iron. It was on the ground beside him, right by his hand.”

  “Did you make note of the position of the bodies?”

  Will shrugged. “A couple are sitting up against the rock. Most of them on the ground. Fallen, like.”

  “Or sleeping,” Royce suggested.

  “Fallen,” Will insisted. “There’s one woman up an ironwood, half-hid in the branches. A far-eyes.” He smiled thinly. “I took care she never saw me. When I got closer, I saw that she wasn’t moving neither.” Despite himself, he shivered.

...snip...

  The knight’s smile was cocksure. “Will, lead us there. I would see these dead men for myself.”

...snip...

  “Why are you stopping?” Ser Waymar asked.

  “Best go the rest of the way on foot, m’lord. It’s just over that ridge.”

  Royce paused a moment, staring off into the distance, his face reflective. A cold wind whispered through the trees. His great sable cloak stirred behind like something half-alive.

  “There’s something wrong here,” Gared muttered.

  The young knight gave him a disdainful smile. “Is there?”

  “Can’t you feel it?” Gared asked. “Listen to the darkness.”

  Will could feel it. Four years in the Night’s Watch, and he had never been so afraid. What was it?

...snip...

   Will made no sound as he climbed. 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.

  The great sentinel was right there at the top of the ridge, where Will had known it would be, its lowest branches a bare foot off the ground. Will slid in underneath, flat on his belly in the snow and the mud, and looked down on the empty clearing below.

  His heart stopped in his chest. For a moment he dared not breathe. Moonlight shone down on the clearing, the ashes of the firepit, the snow-covered lean-to, the great rock, the little half-frozen stream.

  Everything was just as it had been a few hours ago.

  They were gone. All the bodies were gone. “Gods!” he heard behind him. A sword slashed at a branch as Ser Waymar Royce gained the ridge. He stood there beside the sentinel, longsword in hand, his cloak billowing behind him as the wind came up, outlined nobly against the stars for all to see.

  “Get down!” Will whispered urgently. “Something’s wrong.”

 

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The wildlings had Ser Waymar Royce's sword. First, it's description:

  Royce slid gracefully from his saddle. He tied the destrier securely to a low-hanging limb, well away from the other horses, and drew his longsword from its sheath. Jewels glittered in its hilt, and the moonlight ran down the shining steel. It was a splendid weapon, castle-forged, and new-made from the look of it.

 

Waymar's sword when fighting the Others:

  Ser Waymar Royce found his fury. “For Robert!” he shouted, and he came up snarling, lifting the frost-covered longsword with both hands and swinging it around in a flat sidearm slash with all his weight behind it. The Other’s parry was almost lazy. When the blades touched, the steel shattered.

  A scream echoed through the forest night, and the longsword shivered into a hundred brittle pieces, the shards scattering like a rain of needles. Royce went to his knees, shrieking, and covered his eyes. Blood welled between his fingers.

 

Later - Will finds the remains of the sword:

  He found what was left of the sword a few feet away, the end splintered and twisted like a tree struck by lightning. Will knelt, looked around warily, and snatched it up. The broken sword would be his proof. Gared would know what to make of it, and if not him, then surely that old bear Mormont or Maester Aemon. Would Gared still be waiting with the horses? He had to hurry.

  Will rose. Ser Waymar Royce stood over him.

  His fine clothes were a tatter, his face a ruin. A shard from his sword transfixed the blind white pupil of his left eye. The right eye was open.

  The pupil burned blue. It saw.

  The broken sword fell from nerveless fingers. Will closed his eyes to pray. Long, elegant hands brushed his cheek, then tightened around his throat. They were gloved in the finest moleskin and sticky with blood, yet the touch was icy cold.

 

When the wildlings passed through the Wall a broken sword was tossed in one of the carts the Watch had ready:

  As they passed, each warrior stripped off his treasures and tossed them into one of the carts that the stewards had placed before the gate. Amber pendants, golden torques, jeweled daggers, silver brooches set with gemstones, bracelets, rings, niello cups and golden goblets, warhorns and drinking horns, a green jade comb, a necklace of freshwater pearls … all yielded up and noted down by Bowen Marsh. One man surrendered a shirt of silver scales that had surely been made for some great lord. Another produced a broken sword with three sapphires in the hilt.

 

The smiling enemy:

  “You wanted warriors, didn’t you? Well, there they are. Every one worth six o’ your black crows.”

  Jon had to smile. “So long as they save those weapons for our common foe, I am content.”

  “Gave you my word on it, didn’t I? The word of Tormund Giantsbane. Strong as iron, ’tis.” He turned and spat.

  Amongst the stream of warriors were the fathers of many of Jon’s hostages. Some stared with cold dead eyes as they went by, fingering their sword hilts. Others smiled at him like long-lost kin, though a few of those smiles discomfited Jon Snow more than any glare. None knelt, but many gave him their oaths. “What Tormund swore, I swear,” declared black-haired Brogg, a man of few words. 

 

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"splintered and twisted like a tree struck by lightning" is not something that happens to a sword in a normal battle.   This is evidence something supernatural happened. 

Good catch that this may be the same sword,  however that isn't proven and isn't evidence of much.  The Others likely weren't interested in a broken sword and left it on the ground where someone interested picked it up.

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29 minutes ago, Brad Stark said:

"splintered and twisted like a tree struck by lightning" is not something that happens to a sword in a normal battle.   This is evidence something supernatural happened. 

Good catch that this may be the same sword,  however that isn't proven and isn't evidence of much.  The Others likely weren't interested in a broken sword and left it on the ground where someone interested picked it up.

I think the broken sword is a deliberate hint, but easily overlooked. 

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10 hours ago, JNR said:

And personally, I don't think the issue is going to be that the Wall literally vanishes or similar; that just seems preposterous to me.  It's three hundred miles of ice seven hundred feet high and it's not going anywhere.  The failure of the ward, I think, is going to be the failure of the Wall.

I'm not talking about vanishing, I'm talking about catastrophic, widespread collapse.

My personal interpretation of the Horn is that it won't summon a small, localized earthquake, but that it will either obviate the spells in the Wall, or "wake giants from the earth" on a scale to rival the seismic activity it would have taken to, say, flood the Neck.

For the former, I believe that breaking the wards or sorcery in the Wall might very well undermine its structural integrity, and for the latter, I believe the text already establishes the possibility for magic to induce disasters of massive scale.

Edit: And, for that matter, even an earthquake with the Horn as its epicenter could devastate the Wall, assuming sufficient placement and intensity.
 

10 hours ago, JNR said:

Yeah, I'm talking about big-picture strategy that requires knowledge of the size and layout and power structure of the continent of Westeros.  

If they haven't got a map, they haven't got writing, and have no idea what lies south of the Wall, and know little/nothing about human government or power... then the odds they will proceed immediately to Winterfell or the South... having somehow gotten past the Wall, are close to zero.  They will instead do more or less exactly what they did north of the Wall.

I wouldn't want to apply an either/or here, since it's not as though I can't see the possibility of a methodical conquest on the Others' part (though, again, I think a combination of winter and a larger availability of corpses should speed things up) where they sweep the territory, but I think there are alternative scenarios, and they relate to both present and future unknowns:

-Is there a link between Winterfell (or its crypts) and the Others? Do they "know" of it from antiquity? 

-Within their magic, is there any equivalent to the fires of the Red Priests, or green dreams,  or glass candles, or Shade of the Evening--something that they use as a guide for their movements?

-Are the Others motivated by something other than slaughter? Do they have a goal? Is it a goal that can only be accomplished with the Wall removed as an impediment? I wouldn't suggest that they're seeking a politically important destination--but they might be seeking a magically important destination.

-Do the Others have allies, or masters? Humans? CotF?

-Will someone within the story gain control of the wight horde before series end? Jon and Stannis are frequently proposed, and I think Bran has potential as well.


Even given all of the above scenarios, I agree that the Others won't push southward, but I do think there are reasons why the Others might show a bit more focus within the end game. 

Edited by Matthew.

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5 hours ago, JNR said:

But this would require GRRM to write in a much more efficient manner than he has in the TWOW sample chapters, so I wonder if, instead, he's just going to decide there will be eight books, so he can do his lengthy aftermath stuff.  Which... gah.

I agree, and GRRM saying that his publishers are pushing him to split TWOW doesn't bode well, in terms of historical precedent; every book except ASOS was split under pressure from GRRM's editor and publisher, and I don't think TWOW is going to break the trend.

As you say, to pull things off in two books, the latter ~70% of TWOW will need to move at an impressive pace, or he'll need to have Dany's invasion of the south be a concurrent disaster with the incursion of the Others in the north--in essence, have his originally planned ADWD/TWOW arcs taking place at the same time for an early chunk of ADOS before everyone shifts northward.

Edited by Matthew.

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1 hour ago, Matthew. said:

I'm not talking about vanishing, I'm talking about catastrophic, widespread collapse.

My personal interpretation of the Horn is that it won't summon a small, localized earthquake, but that it will either obviate the spells in the Wall, or "wake giants from the earth" on a scale to rival the seismic activity it would have taken to, say, flood the Neck.

For the former, I believe that breaking the wards or sorcery in the Wall might very well undermine its structural integrity, and for the latter, I believe the text already establishes the possibility for magic to induce disasters of massive scale.
 

I wouldn't want to apply an either/or here, since it's not as though I can't see the possibility of a methodical conquest on the Others' part (though, again, I think a combination of winter and a larger availability of corpses should speed things up) where they sweep the territory, but I think there are alternative scenarios, and they relate to both present and future unknowns:

-Is there a link between Winterfell (or its crypts) and the Others? Do they "know" of it from antiquity? 

-Within their magic, is there any equivalent to the fires of the Red Priests, or green dreams,  or glass candles, or Shade of the Evening--something that they use as a guide for their movements?

-Are the Others motivated by something other than slaughter? Do they have a goal? Is it a goal that can only be accomplished with the Wall removed as an impediment? I wouldn't suggest that they're seeking a politically important destination--but they might be seeking a magically important destination.

-Do the Others have allies, or masters? Humans? CotF?

-Will someone within the story gain control of the wight horde before series end? Jon and Stannis are frequently proposed, and I think Bran has potential as well.


Even given all of the above scenarios, I agree that the Others won't push southward, but I do think there are reasons why the Others might show a bit more focus within the end game. 

Well, IMO the ward sealing magic into the Wall has already been removed, and I think it's removal is connected to Euron since Damphair has a bad memory of a screaming/squeaky, rusted iron hinge opening. Euron is the only character - that i've noticed - connected to any mention of iron wards being opened.

Euron is the Crow's Eye, and as such he can "see" from the crow's point of view, or rather from high above the earth. This is the inversion parallel to Bloodraven and Bran "seeing" from underground. Euron drinks shade of the evening, which is the opposite of weirwood paste. Somehow it allows him "the sight".

Euron said he was lied to about being able to fly. Bran said the crow lied to him about flying as well.

  ...“I’m sorry for what happened with the wolves. Summer shouldn’t have tried to hurt Jojen, but Jojen shouldn’t have said all that about my dreams. The crow lied when he said I could fly, and your brother lied too.”

Bloodraven told Bran that he would (eventually) fly:

  “I’m here,” Bran said, “only I’m broken. Will you … will you fix me … my legs, I mean?”

  “No,” said the pale lord. “That is beyond my powers.”

  Bran’s eyes filled with tears. We came such a long way. The chamber echoed to the sound of the black river.

  “You will never walk again, Bran,” the pale lips promised, “but you will fly.”

We learn later in Dance what flying is:

  Flying was even better than climbing.

  Slipping into Summer’s skin had become as easy for him as slipping on a pair of breeches once had been, before his back was broken. Changing his own skin for a raven’s night-black feathers had been harder, but not as hard as he had feared, not with these ravens.

  “A wild stallion will buck and kick when a man tries to mount him, and try to bite the hand that slips the bit between his teeth,” Lord Brynden said, “but a horse that has known one rider will accept another. Young or old, these birds have all been ridden. Choose one now, and fly.

 

This is what Euron said about flying. In his dream he was flying, but when he woke a maester told him he couldn't fly:

  “When I was a boy, I dreamt that I could fly,” he announced. “When I woke, I couldn’t . . . or so the maester said. But what if he lied?”

  Victarion could smell the sea through the open window, though the room stank of wine and blood and sex. The cold salt air helped to clear his head. “What do you mean?”

  Euron turned to face him, his bruised blue lips curled in a half smile. “Perhaps we can fly. All of us. How will we ever know unless we leap from some tall tower?” The wind came gusting through the window and stirred his sable cloak. There was something obscene and disturbing about his nakedness. “No man ever truly knows what he can do unless he dares to leap.”

  “There is the window. Leap.” Victarion had no patience for this. His wounded hand was troubling him. “What do you want?”

  “The world.” Firelight glimmered in Euron’s eye. His smiling eye.

 

Euron's goal is "the world". Might I still remind you that I believe the wildlings are related to the Ironborn? At the very least the wildlings are working with Euron. The wildlings would be the inverted parallel to the Children with Euron as their seer. Euron is the inverted parallel to Bloodraven and Bran.

Edited by Feather Crystal

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5 hours ago, Matthew. said:

I'm not talking about vanishing, I'm talking about catastrophic, widespread collapse.

My personal interpretation of the Horn is that it won't summon a small, localized earthquake, but that it will either obviate the spells in the Wall, or "wake giants from the earth" on a scale to rival the seismic activity it would have taken to, say, flood the Neck.

For the former, I believe that breaking the wards or sorcery in the Wall might very well undermine its structural integrity, and for the latter, I believe the text already establishes the possibility for magic to induce disasters of massive scale.

Edit: And, for that matter, even an earthquake with the Horn as its epicenter could devastate the Wall, assuming sufficient placement and magnitude.
 

I wouldn't want to apply an either/or here, since it's not as though I can't see the possibility of a methodical conquest on the Others' part (though, again, I think a combination of winter and a larger availability of corpses should speed things up) where they sweep the territory, but I think there are alternative scenarios, and they relate to both present and future unknowns:

-Is there a link between Winterfell (or its crypts) and the Others? Do they "know" of it from antiquity? 

-Within their magic, is there any equivalent to the fires of the Red Priests, or green dreams,  or glass candles, or Shade of the Evening--something that they use as a guide for their movements?

-Are the Others motivated by something other than slaughter? Do they have a goal? Is it a goal that can only be accomplished with the Wall removed as an impediment? I wouldn't suggest that they're seeking a politically important destination--but they might be seeking a magically important destination.

-Do the Others have allies, or masters? Humans? CotF?

-Will someone within the story gain control of the wight horde before series end? Jon and Stannis are frequently proposed, and I think Bran has potential as well.


Even given all of the above scenarios, I agree that the Others won't push southward, but I do think there are reasons why the Others might show a bit more focus within the end game. 

We'll find something really interesting in the lower level of the crypts that has nothing to do with Jon's parents.  As I said, I think Mance is looking for something there.

The Others aren't killing indescrimately or just marching south.   They appear in different places all around the north.  They may have let Gared go and dueled Royce instead of killing him as quickly as they could. 

The Others have to have a human master,  or will in the future.  No other way to have them as the end conflict with as POV on both sides of the war.  I bet we find the Starks were either their masters or their enemies in the past.  Someone is controlling Craster, it could be the Others themselves,  or a human in charge.

Given GRRMs style,  I am betting on a human, such as Littlefinger,  blowing the horn to bring down the Wall in a short sighted plot for personal gain.  Then the Others will be a threat South of the Wall.

 

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3 hours ago, Brad Stark said:

 

The Others have to have a human master,  or will in the future.  No other way to have them as the end conflict with as POV on both sides of the war.  I bet we find the Starks were either their masters or their enemies in the past.  Someone is controlling Craster, it could be the Others themselves,  or a human in charge.

Ah, well I'd argue of course that they are Starks, very old Starks

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