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Black Crow

Heresy 209 Of Ice and of Fire

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Welcome to Heresy 209, the latest iteration of a thread which has been running here since 2011 and which offers a sometimes quirky platform to explore themes in far greater depth than is usually the case. Although wide-ranging those themes tend to revolve around the central conflict between Ice and Fire and the mysteries of the Musgrave Ritual that is Winterfell, the Wall and the Heart of Darkness that lies beyond. The Heresy lies in questioning whether this will be resolved by Jon Snow leading the Royal Targaryen Air Force to a fiery victory on the banks of the Trident before taking his rightful [?] place on the Iron Thone.

Don't be intimidated by the thread, and don't be afraid to stray off the topic of the moment, just plunge in and enjoy it even if only to ask questions, because we miserable heretics have built up a formidable body of knowledge over the years, especially when it comes to the blue-eyed lot. 

All we ask is that you respect the local house rules in my signature block. :commie:

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In a wide ranging interview with Time magazine last year GRRM chiefly spoke of how the books and the mummers' version are very different in so many ways

http://time.com/4791258/game-of-thrones-george-r-r-martin-interview/

And as I got older and considered it more, it also seemed to me that death doesn’t make you more powerful. That’s, in some ways, me talking to Tolkien in the dialogue, saying, “Yeah, if someone comes back from being dead, especially if they suffer a violent, traumatic death, they’re not going to come back as nice as ever.” That’s what I was trying to do, and am still trying to do, with the Lady Stoneheart character.

And Jon Snow, too, is drained by the experience of coming back from the dead on the show.

Right. And poor Beric Dondarrion, who was set up as the foreshadowing of all this, every time he’s a little less Beric. His memories are fading, he’s got all these scars, he’s becoming more and more physically hideous, because he’s not a living human being anymore. His heart isn’t beating, his blood isn’t flowing in his veins, he’s a wight, but a wight animated by fire instead of by ice, now we’re getting back to the whole fire and ice thing.

And so we are, and there are two issues immediately arising from this. Should Jon Snow return from the dead as he does in the mummers' version he is "not going to come back as nice as ever", and more fundamentally perhaps, both of the examples cited, Lady Stoneheart and Beric Dondarrion, were re-animated by Fire. If "we're getting back to the whole fire and ice thing" then logically in story-telling terms just as Beric foreshadowed Catelyn, so surely Coldhands will foreshadow a Jon raised by Ice.

We're told Ice preserves while Fire consumes and it will be fascinating to see how this plays out, because as we've discussed before the Ice may lie at the heart of Winterfell.

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Considering that Beric was able to raise Catelyn himself without Thoros' intervention; I wonder if Colldhands will have something to do with raising Jon.  There is no fire burning behind his eyes though.

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5 hours ago, LynnS said:

Considering that Beric was able to raise Catelyn himself without Thoros' intervention; I wonder if Colldhands will have something to do with raising Jon.  There is no fire burning behind his eyes though.

Exactly so. Coldhands is Ice and thereby not only offers a glimpse - hopefully to be amplified by Jon of the counterpoise to the Fire of Catelyn and Beric. GRRM has been at considerable pains to emphasise that this is far more nuanced than a simple fight between Goof [Fire] and Evil [Ice]. In fact we've thus far seen more evil emanate from Fire than has been inflicted by Ice. Its time now to see that there is more to Ice than the blue-eyed lot

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Posted (edited)

While I easily see the parallel between Beric and Coldhands, I haven't any idea how Coldhands would get his hands on a dead Jon, especially since the Watch has taken to burning the dead. With all the commotion at the Wall, would anyone think or want to drag Jon's dying or dead body to an interior room within the Wall? Coldhands cannot pass the Wall nor (presumably) enter and walk within its wormways, so how would Jon be raised? To me it makes more sense for Val to be revealed as an ice priestess and the inverted parallel to Melisandre. Melisandre offered Jon her help so perhaps its her people that drag is body off and then bring Val to him?

Edited by Feather Crystal

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Posted (edited)
58 minutes ago, Feather Crystal said:

While I easily see the parallel between Beric and Coldhands, I haven't any idea how Coldhands would get his hands on a dead Jon, especially since the Watch has taken to burning the dead. With all the commotion at the Wall, would anyone think or want to drag Jon's dying or dead body to an interior room within the Wall? Coldhands cannot pass the Wall nor (presumably) enter and walk within its wormways, so how would Jon be raised? To me it makes more sense for Val to be revealed as an ice priestess and the inverted parallel to Melisandre. Melisandre offered Jon her help so perhaps its her people that drag is body off and then bring Val to him?

I go back to Bran's first chapter and his vision of Jon followed by his vision of the heart of winter.  I think this is a future event and Jon is lying in his cold bed and all memory of warmth has fled his body, turning pale and hard.  That's a euphamism for dead.  Bran tells us that dead Starks end up in the crypts when the warmth has left their body and Aemon wonders what happens after death, when the warmth has left the body.

So coincidently Jon is stabbed to death at the end of Dance and blood is poring out of his body, the warmth is fleeing and the cold arrives, just as Borroq warned: "they are coming".

As for Coldhands crossing the Wall; that depends on whether the wards remain in place or not and whether Ghost/Jon comes in contact with Coldhands beyond the Wall.

If Jon is the three-eyed crow; then showing Bran this pivotal moment makes sense to me. 

Edited by LynnS

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1 hour ago, Feather Crystal said:

While I easily see the parallel between Beric and Coldhands, I haven't any idea how Coldhands would get his hands on a dead Jon, especially since the Watch has taken to burning the dead. With all the commotion at the Wall, would anyone think or want to drag Jon's dying or dead body to an interior room within the Wall? Coldhands cannot pass the Wall nor (presumably) enter and walk within its wormways, so how would Jon be raised? To me it makes more sense for Val to be revealed as an ice priestess and the inverted parallel to Melisandre. Melisandre offered Jon her help so perhaps its her people that drag is body off and then bring Val to him?

I don't actually envisage Coldhands doing the reviving. What I wanted to emphasise is that in him we have a cold dead thing who doresn't have blue eyes and offers a foreshadowing of Jon just as Beric offered a foreshadowing of Lady Stoneheart. Its entirely possible, indeed likely, that Val will do the deed.

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44 minutes ago, LynnS said:

I go back to Bran's first chapter and his vision of Jon followed by his vision of the heart of winter.  I think this is a future event and Jon is lying in his cold bed and all memory of warmth has fled his body, turning pale and hard.  That's a euphamism for dead.  Bran tells us that dead Starks end up in the crypts when the warmth has left their body and Aemon wonders what happens after death, when the warmth has left the body.

So coincidently Jon is stabbed to death at the end of Dance and blood is poring out of his body, the warmth is fleeing and the cold arrives, just as Borroq warned: "they are coming".

 

:agree:

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Posted (edited)

For Jon's second life maybe we should be looking at the Stark imprisoned in the ice cells and his frozen companions. Jon->Ghost->Cregan Karstark is a viable path that requires no additional intervention by Mel, Val or Others. We already saw Varamyr->Thistle->One-Eye the prologue of ADwD. Maybe this is why we have this quote:

Quote

He never felt the fourth knife. Only the cold …

We would get a new Cregan Stark and maybe a very long Hour of the Wolf.

Edited by Tucu

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Posted (edited)
5 hours ago, Black Crow said:

I don't actually envisage Coldhands doing the reviving. What I wanted to emphasise is that in him we have a cold dead thing who doresn't have blue eyes and offers a foreshadowing of Jon just as Beric offered a foreshadowing of Lady Stoneheart. Its entirely possible, indeed likely, that Val will do the deed.

I was going off on the fact that Beric did the resurrecting of Catelyn by way of the fiery kiss. If it’s possible to make it happen without the help of a priest or priestess, then perhaps Coldhands has the ability to resuscitate via an icy CPR kiss - even though I don’t think he’ll get the opportunity.

Edited by Feather Crystal

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Beric, Catelyn, Coldhands, and maybe Patchface - do we know anyone else resurrected?

Beric came back relatively normal, but not the same person.  He seems drier, a little more mission oriented, maybe a little more robotic and less human, and certainly a little scrambled, but if we didn't know who he was before, he'd seem like a normal character.

Catelyn is completely different.  Instead of a warm loving wife and mother, she is solely focused on revenge and would not seem like a normal person, even without her wounds.  

We probably haven't seen Coldhands before he died, and if we did, we don't know who he is so we can't make comparisons.  But Stonesnake, Halfhand and Gared all remind me of the strong silent type and Coldhand's personality seems to fit right in.  We don't get a lot of description, but he seems to be a competent fighter who can still move quickly and skillfully.

Patchface is a mystery, and what we know of what he was like before is very different.  Nimble and clever seem to be the best descriptions and since we've seen him, he is the opposite.  Unlike the others, Patchface doesn't seem to be goal oriented or driven towards any specific purpose.

So it seems everyone brought back is somewhat less warm, human and nuanced - and the degree of change varies quiet a bit.  From GRRM's comments and the example of Cat, we'd assume the more horrific death and the longer ago they died, the greater degree of change, but I suspect that isn't true.  Coldhands probably died horribly (and almost certainly violently) and was probably dead far longer than any of the others, but comes back in shape to fit right in with the rangers.

I think we also need to ask how any of them were brought back.  We have Beric and Cat,we know were brought back by Fire (GRRM told us) but Thoros was hardly the powerful sorcerer or priest we'd expect to resurrect people, and he did it in a cave of Children of the Forest surrounded by wierwood roots.

We don't know who or what brought Coldhands back.  I suspect Bran (probably future Bran) did it, but it could be Bloodraven, and if not, likely was someone working either on the same side or with the same powers.

Patchface again is a mystery, with no clue as to whether fire, ice or water brought him back, who did it, or why.

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Depends how you define warm.

We're told that Ice preserves while Fire consumes.

I would say that both Beric and Catelyn were/are consumed. Beric by his mission and Catelyn by vengeance.

On the other side Coldhands seems quieter and well conducted, with dare I say it, his humanity preserved so its going to be interesting to see what happens to Jon

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4 hours ago, Feather Crystal said:

I was going off on the fact that Beric did the resurrecting of Catelyn by way of the fiery kiss. If it’s possible to make it happen without the help of a priest or priestess, then perhaps Coldhands has the ability to resuscitate via an icy CPR kiss - even though I don’t think he’ll get the opportunity.

No, I think that we're agreed on that one, which is why I'd look to Val - who of course doesn't exist in the mummers' version

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I'm not sure that Coldhands was raised by an 'icy kiss' or he'd have blue eyes.  Val might know something about Coldhands and I suspect Mance and Val have crossed paths with him, in their search for the horn of Joramun.  When she tells Jon that 'the horned lord' warned them about using the horn; I don't think she was talking about the lore around the horn; but an actual warning.  It may be that Coldhands was released from the grave containing the horns. 

I can't see Coldhands appearing in the story only once as Bran's escort.  I think it will be Bran and Coldhands who are involved in resurrecting Jon.  It's been demonstrated that Bran can talk to Ghost-Jon and Coldhands can similarly communicate with the crows and ravens.  If Jon is to be forced out of Ghost and back into his body at some point; Coldhands seems the likely candidate for killing the direwolf.   I wonder if sking-changed crows and ravens are immune from the wards baked into the Wall. 

I'm not sure what Val's part will be other than to ensure that Jon is put into an ice cell.  Ultimately, I think it will be Tree-Bran who raises Jon or Sam who uses the small broken horn 'to wake' the sleepers.

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Posted (edited)

If J=R+L, then Jon is equally of both ice and fire.  Would it make sense for him to come back animated like Beric by fire or like Coldhands by ice?  Will he need both?  Will using 1 and not the other somehow leave him off balance?

Same question applies if you believe Jon has different parents but still Stark and Targaryen blood. 

Edited by Brad Stark

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22 minutes ago, Brad Stark said:

If J=R+L, then Jon is equally of both ice and fire.  Would it make sense for him to come back animated like Beric by fire or like Coldhands by ice?  Will he need both?  Will using 1 and not the other somehow leave him off balance?

Same question applies if you believe Jon has different parents but still Stark and Targaryen blood. 

Are Mel, Thoros, Catelyn, Benerro, Moqorro and Beric all Targs?  In other words, do they have a requirement for Targ blood to be transformed by fire?   

 

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15 minutes ago, LynnS said:

Are Mel, Thoros, Catelyn, Benerro, Moqorro and Beric all Targs?  In other words, do they have a requirement for Targ blood to be transformed by fire?   

 

None of them are Targs, but they aren't Starks either.  We can assume that someone with neither Stark nor Targ blood can be reanimated by fire, and likely by ice as well.

But if Stark blood is ice, can a Stark be reanimated by Fire?  Can a Targ be reanimated by Ice?  Maybe there are no special rules and it doesn't matter.  But ice and fire are central to the series, so I speculate it does.

 

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Posted (edited)
7 hours ago, LynnS said:

I'm not sure that Coldhands was raised by an 'icy kiss' or he'd have blue eyes.  Val might know something about Coldhands and I suspect Mance and Val have crossed paths with him, in their search for the horn of Joramun.  When she tells Jon that 'the horned lord' warned them about using the horn; I don't think she was talking about the lore around the horn; but an actual warning.  It may be that Coldhands was released from the grave containing the horns. 

I can't see Coldhands appearing in the story only once as Bran's escort.  I think it will be Bran and Coldhands who are involved in resurrecting Jon.  It's been demonstrated that Bran can talk to Ghost-Jon and Coldhands can similarly communicate with the crows and ravens.  If Jon is to be forced out of Ghost and back into his body at some point; Coldhands seems the likely candidate for killing the direwolf.   I wonder if sking-changed crows and ravens are immune from the wards baked into the Wall. 

I'm not sure what Val's part will be other than to ensure that Jon is put into an ice cell.  Ultimately, I think it will be Tree-Bran who raises Jon or Sam who uses the small broken horn 'to wake' the sleepers.

I want to dig more into Coldhands for the moment. I'm going to reexamine what I proposed regarding the "icy kiss", and then propose a different explanation for how he came to be.

Neither Beric's nor Catelyn's eye-color changed after resurrection by fiery kiss, so why should we expect that an icy kiss would change eye color? Coldhands is not the same thing as a wight. That much is singularly clear. Its my understanding that particular, blue-lighted eyes are found in wights and white walkers, and that the icy "breath" of the cold wind raises wights. However, theoretically the icy kiss that I was proposing to make a "Coldhands" would be a different kind of breath, and I would expect the mechanics of it to be similar to how Thoros gave the "good god's own kiss" and breathed fire down into Beric's lungs. I posit that "ice" may have been blown down into Coldhand's lungs in order to resurrect him. I don’t know if that is the process, but if it is and you also consider the fact that Beric made Lady Stoneheart, then could the possibility exist that Coldhands can make another "Coldhands"?

The obsidian-blade-to-the heart method employed by the mummer's version seems contradictory to what we know dragonglass can do. Sam used his blade to stab a white walker and it dissolved into a fine mist, breaking the spell. Can a substance that is used to break a spell also be used to create one? I got the sense that the mummer's show was trying to condense complicated book details into a process that looks simple to the viewer.

Both Beric and Catelyn were dead prior to receiving the fiery kiss, but the fiery kiss reanimated them and made them "undead". According to the mummer's version a living human is stabbed in the heart during the process to become a white walker. Whether this will be the way GRRM explains it in the books remains to be seen.

Are white wakers the opposite of undead? Or specifically, is becoming a white walker a way for the living to transform into a "different sort of life"? 

What we really don't know for sure is how Coldhands was made and why he's north of the Wall. His physical condition seems to be exactly like Beric and Catelyn. He's undead, but his body still shows evidence of how he died. Should we then conclude that he must have been raised by fire?

Edited by Feather Crystal

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Posted (edited)

I think we're probably coming back to the three degrees of changeling. Thus far, we've been given a rather superficial and consequntly false impression of what's happening, partly for literary reasons and partly because of our limited viewpoints.

Ice we saw first with the white walkers and then the wights. The first were "a different form of life" more ethereal than the mummers' parodies, while the latter are shambling zombies. The former are elegant and may have a sense of honour but ultimately both are portrayed negatively.

As to Fire, ever since Mel strode on to the beach at Dragonstone, its been siezed on as the last best hope of mankind and only defence against the Ice, but there are hints by the bucket-load that there's something rotten in there. We have Mel herself and Moqorro, neither of which are quite human and I'm not at all sure about the Flames or temple guards. 

Then there are Beric and Catelyn. They appear to have a direct equivalent in Coldhands. Coldhands is Ice, not fire. Unlike Beric and Catelyn he isn't consumed.

There doesn't appear as yet to be a fiery equivalent of the blue-eyed wights, but I won't be surprised if that changes once the real dying begins, but we'll have to see. What's important at this point is Mel. We don't know what's behind the glamour but she's clearly not another Beric or Catelyn. I would suggest that she is in fact a Red Walker, albeit perhaps not yet fully transformed. She reflects in her POV how she is waiting to a transformation to be be complete and while she has red eyes they aint completely red.

As I'm thinking it at the moment it would therefore appear that Ice and Fire both have the power to raise the dead, either as Coldhands or as Beric respectively. But then there is another, different level by which they can be physically transformed into their respective elements either as White Walkers or as Red ones, losing their humanity in the process.

Edited by Black Crow

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1 hour ago, Black Crow said:

Then there are Beric and Catelyn. They appear to have a direct equivalent in Coldhands. Coldhands is Ice, not fire. Unlike Beric and Catelyn he isn't consumed.

Please elaborate what evidence of "consuming" Beric and Catelyn have that Coldhands does not? And what evidence demonstrates that Coldhands is Ice? 

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