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The Fattest Leech

Night's Watch vows and the truth of history.

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1 hour ago, kissdbyfire said:

:agree:

And we do have the man himself saying it took hundreds of years to build the Wall, and thousands for it to reach its current height. 

Yes, the Wall was much smaller when first raised. It took hundreds of years to complete and thousands to reach it's present height.

So we have Whitetree and Mole's Town that are both within a short distance to the Wall. I do not have any of the big map/map books so I cannot tell for sure, but there are sure to be to other villages along the way, and most likely on both sides of the wall.

 

By the way, does that quote you have any additional information that specifies the Watch require the wall to be so tall for any reason?

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6 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

Sounds like a weird idea to me. There would be no point as to why men would man a Wall to keep basically themselves and their families out of a land they are apparently guarding.

If something like that would have happened then surely the Others, the wights, or even the Children might have manned the Wall, ensuring the First Men stay where they are supposed to stay.

And from what we can fathom there were always men north of the Wall.

Huh? The Others would want a steady supply of wights to bolster their forces. By depriving them of that with the Wall, the Others had to go into hibernation until there were enough people beyond the wall to begin their attacks again. It might be why they are moving so slowly and biding their time. They need something overwhelming to tackle the Wall's magical and physical barriers. Otherwise, why not just get a ton of boats and row past the damn thing?

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50 minutes ago, Trefayne said:

I could see how the original "Wall" barrier was organic (and magical) in nature and then was slowly replaced with the inorganic magical barrier that grew into the Wall.

This got me to wondering... why is Stonedoor named Stonedoor? Could it be related in some "magical" way to both the Black Gate and what Arianne finds in one of her TWOW spoiler chapters?

Spoiler

The passageway Arianne had chosen for herself turned steep and wet within a hundred feet. The footing grew uncertain. Once she slipped, and had to catch herself to keep from sliding. More than once she considered turning back, but she could see Ser Daemon’s torch ahead and hear him calling for Elia, so she pressed on. And all at once she found herself in another cavern, five times as big as the last one, surrounded by a forest of stone columns. Daemon Sand moved to her side and raised his torch. “Look how the stone’s been shaped,” he said. “Those columns, and the wall there. See them?”

“Faces,” said Arianne. So many sad eyes, staring.

“This place belonged to the children of the forest.”

“A thousand years ago.” Arianne turned her head. “Listen. Is that Joss?”

 

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8 minutes ago, The Fattest Leech said:

This got me to wondering... why is Stonedoor named Stonedoor? Could it be related in some "magical" way to both the Black Gate and what Arianne finds in one of her TWOW spoiler chapters?

  Reveal hidden contents

The passageway Arianne had chosen for herself turned steep and wet within a hundred feet. The footing grew uncertain. Once she slipped, and had to catch herself to keep from sliding. More than once she considered turning back, but she could see Ser Daemon’s torch ahead and hear him calling for Elia, so she pressed on. And all at once she found herself in another cavern, five times as big as the last one, surrounded by a forest of stone columns. Daemon Sand moved to her side and raised his torch. “Look how the stone’s been shaped,” he said. “Those columns, and the wall there. See them?”

“Faces,” said Arianne. So many sad eyes, staring.

“This place belonged to the children of the forest.”

“A thousand years ago.” Arianne turned her head. “Listen. Is that Joss?”

 

Hmm, sad faces huh? Well that seals it. GRRM is going to go all Japanese anime and the larger story is going to be about the dying planet and how its sadness and anger is being externally expressed through the actions of the Others. If it goes to type, the entire conflict will be ameliorated by having an adorable little girl give the Others a pretty red flower and a hug; because all they really wanted from the beginning was an understanding friend.

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14 minutes ago, The Fattest Leech said:

So we have Whitetree and Mole's Town that are both within a short distance to the Wall. I do not have any of the big map/map books so I cannot tell for sure, but there are sure to be to other villages along the way, and most likely on both sides of the wall.

True. Know what strikes me as odd? The distance between CB/Wall and the grove w/ 9 heart trees where both Jon and Sam swore their vows and later Jon finds a few of the FF and Wun Wun. It does my head in, but I think it's probably an inconsistency and not a clue. 

14 minutes ago, The Fattest Leech said:

 

By the way, does that quote you have any additional information that specifies the Watch require the wall to be so tall for any reason?

Nope. That post links to this SSM:

http://www.westeros.org/Citadel/SSM/Entry/The_Wall/

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1 minute ago, kissdbyfire said:

True. Know what strikes me as odd? The distance between CB/Wall and the grove w/ 9 heart trees where both Jon and Sam swore their vows and later Jon finds a few of the FF and Wun Wun. It does my head in, but I think it's probably an inconsistency and not a clue. 

It's almost like the huddled free folk were taking protection within a weirwood ringfort of nine trees, not unlike the nine swords of the crown of the king in the north.

1 minute ago, kissdbyfire said:

Nope. That post links to this SSM:

http://www.westeros.org/Citadel/SSM/Entry/The_Wall/

Cool. Thank you.

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2 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

Thinking about the Black Gate, I find the idea we originally had 'many walls' which eventually grew into one not very convincing.

I'm catching up a little while I have a wee bit of free time. I want to get back to this idea and say that I am a little shocked you cann't see this (possible) of all the castles basically joining togther and being linked by the wall. I made the "connect the dots" funny earlier, but that was just to give a visual.

I cannot find the original link where you told me this (below) a while back, but this connection is not that far off from what you once proposed to me... which is why I added this idea a few pages back. I remembered what you had once said. Here is the paste from another thread I have where I mentioned it.

  • A second poster also pointed out that the walls plural is because the>  "first" NW was actually when the people from different castles stood atop their won walls (castles, forts, etc) and kept a watch. This was before the wall was built. Just a thought.

 

2 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

I think there is a good chance that the Black Gate (which is essentially a magical weirwood living underground) is actually the focal point of the magic in the Wall. It might be what imbues the Wall with its magic. If that's true, then there must have been some sort of magical fence/ward/whatever from the start. Not the massive wall of ice, but a line of magic preventing the Others and their minions from crossing it. And the Black Gate would have been the only way to cross it.

The weirwood at Nighfort could be the source of the wall's magic, or maybe what maintains it. Possibly destroy the tree, destroy the magic, helllloooo common foe! But, we don't really know much about this tree that is truly set apart from the other ones. It seems quite possible that the over time, even before the Nightfort was built, that maybe the ground level was built on like so many hidden/historic cities in the real world. This is reflected also in the quote provided about how the wall has "eaten" so much stone and rock and ice through time.

The ice wall and the connecting castles could be the necessary extending conductor of this magic (if I got my electricians term correct, which I probably did not).

One thing about the gate weirwood is that the entire tree is not underground (like Bloodraven). The upper portion with the leaves are at least visible and have a good amount of height.

A Storm of Swords - Bran IV

"We should sleep," Jojen said solemnly, after they were full. The fire was burning low. He stirred it with a stick. "Perhaps I'll have another green dream to show us the way."
Hodor was already curled up and snoring lightly. From time to time he thrashed beneath his cloak, and whimpered something that might have been "Hodor." Bran wriggled closer to the fire. The warmth felt good, and the soft crackling of flames soothed him, but sleep would not come. Outside the wind was sending armies of dead leaves marching across the courtyards to scratch faintly at the doors and windows. The sounds made him think of Old Nan's stories. He could almost hear the ghostly sentinels calling to each other atop the Wall and winding their ghostly warhorns. Pale moonlight slanted down through the hole in the dome, painting the branches of the weirwood as they strained up toward the roof. It looked as if the tree was trying to catch the moon and drag it down into the well. Old gods, Bran prayed, if you hear me, don't send a dream tonight. Or if you do, make it a good dream. The gods made no answer.
Bran made himself close his eyes. Maybe he even slept some, or maybe he was just drowsing, floating the way you do when you are half awake and half asleep, trying not to think about Mad Axe or the Rat Cook or the thing that came in the night.

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11 minutes ago, The Fattest Leech said:

The ice wall and the connecting castles could be the necessary extending conductor of this magic (if I got my electricians term correct, which I probably did not).

Actually, that analogy works just fine as long as we think of Eastwatch and the Shadow Tower as positive and negative poles to keep the magical "current" humming. The whole Wall is just a large battery.

Edited by Trefayne

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1 hour ago, Trefayne said:

Actually, that analogy works just fine as long as we think of Eastwatch and the Shadow Tower as positive and negative poles to keep the magical "current" humming. The whole Wall is just a large battery.

Just for fun :D

A Storm of Swords - Jon IV

The Wall was often said to stand seven hundred feet high, but Jarl had found a place where it was both higher and lower. Before them, the ice rose sheer from out of the trees like some immense cliff, crowned by wind-carved battlements that loomed at least eight hundred feet high, perhaps nine hundred in spots. But that was deceptive, Jon realized as they drew closer. Brandon the Builder had laid his huge foundation blocks along the heights wherever feasible, and hereabouts the hills rose wild and rugged.
He had once heard his uncle Benjen say that the Wallwas a sword east of Castle Black, but a snake to the west. It was true. Sweeping in over one huge humped hill, the ice dipped down into a valley, climbed the knife edge of a long granite ridgeline for a league or more, ran along a jagged crest, dipped again into a valley deeper still, and then rose higher and higher, leaping from hill to hill as far as the eye could see, into the mountainous west.

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7 minutes ago, The Fattest Leech said:

He had once heard his uncle Benjen say that the Wallwas a sword east of Castle Black, but a snake to the west.

So, what you're saying is that the wall is one giant extension cord? :P

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18 minutes ago, Trefayne said:

So, what you're saying is that the wall is one giant extension cord? :P

Totally. And it’s stealing the power from its neighbor :lol:

ok, for the second time in this thread of mine I am going to go rogue for a minute (too late!). Here’s some crackpot for you 

https://youtu.be/Lagy_VAgHBg

theres even an extension cord :D

 

Ok. Back to work. :whip:

History is coming full circle ( time is a river) and the what we read as the vows nowadays is a corruption of the basics of life. 

Edited by The Fattest Leech

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2 minutes ago, The Fattest Leech said:

Totally. And it’s stealing the power from its neighbor :lol:

ok, for the second time in this thread of mine I am going to go offtopic for a minute (too late!). Here’s some crackpot for you 

https://youtu.be/Lagy_VAgHBg

 

Ok. Back to work. :whip:

History is coming full circle ( time is a river) and the what we read as the vows nowadays is a corruption of the basics of life. 

Oh, the ol' Egyptian light bulb theory! I like the helicopter hieroglyph too. And then there is that airplane trinket from South America. At least the Babylonian (Bagdad) battery has some archeological evidence behind it.

In times of great existential conflict it is always better to be the river and not the rock.

 

 

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On 7/31/2018 at 12:15 PM, OtherFromAnotherMother said:

Interesting idea. I would like it more of there were 12 "I ams" to match the Last Hero's dozen companions, but an interesting idea nonetheless. Something I had never considered before. Good stuff. :thumbsup:

There are however 6

Sword

watcher

Fire

Light

Shield

Horn

 

Thus perhaps we may have 2 for each of these.

 

Seems to me there are a number of key Watchmen

Jon (Sword), Sam (horn), Mance?, Maybe there will be 6 key roles. i could see Tyrion and Jorah joining the NW

 

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I think you are on to something. It would be plausible for the Watch to have begun in the way Ned and Benjen were discussing. That is by populating a frontier area in order to defend it, which if I am not mistaken has actual historical equivalent.

Of course the problem that arises is that a militant force with families and lands can grow in perpetuity and their commander will be no much different than a lord, one that owns no fealty to another liege. In fact the Night's King story might stem from that. Not necessarily a single commander who went rogue, but multiple ones that developed ambitions. While the supernatural could well be true (it is a fantasy after all) , the lack of identification and the many proposed origins may imply that the legend was inspired by a number of ambitious commanders who sought to conquer. In that context many of the Watch's tenets, like the neutrality or the lack of defensive walls to the south, could be seen as external restrictions imposed on the Watch. In a similar way celibacy could have been imposed due to the son of someone who had joined the Watch leaving the Wall and pressing a claim to some lordship in the South.

In short it would make more sense for the Watch to have evolved over time due to various issues that arose. We don't know how much back-story Martin has made up and at what point.

If that is the case issues of that nature would have begun really early. So I don't know how much could be attributed to Andal influence. After all it is in the far North where Andals never held sway. An argument could be made about the celibacy. For instance, originally it could have been decreed simply that the offspring of the men of the Watch were dispossessed, but Andal influence turned that into a vow of celibacy. Or a choice could have been forced on the Watch. The men who wanted to remain armed, would have to swear an oath of celibacy, remaining as the Watch proper, while the people who wished to have families were disarmed, became the farmers who populated the gift. Eventually the that split could have been forgotten and the Watch reinstating support staff among each ranks.

Anyway, good topic. 

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On 7/31/2018 at 3:53 AM, OtherFromAnotherMother said:

I have long thought the words Sam says at the Black Gate were the original words of the watch. These words could have been the ones spoken by the Last Hero and his 12 companions as the original NW crew, probably in front of a wierwood. "The light that brings the dawn" sounds very Lightbringerish to me. 

 

On 7/31/2018 at 4:55 AM, Bael's Bastard said:

I have seen it proposed that the words Sam says are an older form of the vow, but I'm not sure I buy it. I don't see why Sam would be privy to an older version of the vows, or would know that this was the version that needed to be said at that particular moment. And while Jon seems to recite an abbreviated version when saying he knows the vows he swore, he actually swore the full version, as occurs in one or two other scenes throughout the series. I'm not sure why GRRM writes an abbreviated version in some places. Perhaps it has significance, but perhaps it is just understood by speaker and listener to imply the unspoken parts.

They are the core of the vow, the primary purpose, just like the primary purpose of the KG is to defend the king with their lives. The parts about the no land, wife or glory are not essential for the purpose.

On 7/31/2018 at 6:39 AM, The Hidden Dragon said:

My apologies, as this is slightly off-topic but this quote caught my attention..."the trees have eyes again". That implies that there was a time when the trees didn't have eyes.  Has this ever been discussed?  Do we know of a time when the trees didn't have eyes?  What causes the trees to have eyes again?  What caused the trees to stop having eyes in the past?

I think that with the old powers in decline, there were either (almost) npo greenwalker, or not able to see through the trees. Now, with the magic returning, the trees are being used for the purpose of seeing again.

On 7/31/2018 at 3:05 PM, Free Northman Reborn said:

2. I can’t help but notice that in the same sentence that Hodor’s name is mentioned, the Black Gate is referred to as a “door” rather than a gate, followed by a teardrop (implying sadness) connecting all of the above. Which to me suggests the likely location for a scene where someone may be asked to “hold a door”, with a sad outcome to follow.

Ouch... I'm afraid you're right, it makes all too much sense.

 

The threads like this are the reason why I still linger at the forums - still some new angles and ideas to be found. The way the vow is used at Nightfort, it is like a password. Which begs a question: where else might this password guarantee access? What else can be utilized by uttering it, and what exactly does it signify for the man who says it?

Also, it reminds me about the Fire and blood issue - given that fire and blood is what wakes the dragons, it seems that the words were originally more than just a cool catchphrase. The words of the NW could have held a similar purpose, long-forgotten.

 

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On 7/31/2018 at 2:20 AM, The Fattest Leech said:

Just what are the Night's Watch vows?

How old are they?

How much interference has been involved in changing them, and why?

What does this mean for the future of the story?

ADDING: What do the vows not cover?

***

What we know in the current story that makes up the vows is this:

A Game of Thrones - Jon VI

They said the words together, as the last light faded in the west and grey day became black night.
"Hear my words, and bear witness to my vow," they recited, their voices filling the twilit grove. "Night gathers, and now my watch begins. It shall not end until my death. I shall take no wife, hold no lands, father no children. I shall wear no crowns and win no glory. I shall live and die at my post. I am the sword in the darkness. I am the watcher on the walls. I am the fire that burns against the cold, the light that brings the dawn, the horn that wakes the sleepers, the shield that guards the realms of men. I pledge my life and honor to the Night's Watch, for this night and all the nights to come."
The woods fell silent. "You knelt as boys," Bowen Marsh intoned solemnly. "Rise now as men of the Night's Watch."
 
But on closer reading you'll notice that the oldest part of the wall, the Black Gate under Nightfort, does not require most of the vows to be recited. Aside from the symbolism surrounding Bran at this point, the gate requires the oldest, simple set of vows, or more specifically, and identity. Who are you?

A Storm of Swords - Bran IV

"How did you get through the Wall?" Jojen demanded as Sam struggled to his feet. "Does the well lead to an underground river, is that where you came from? You're not even wet . . ."
"There's a gate," said fat Sam. "A hidden gate, as old as the Wall itself. The Black Gate, he called it."
The Reeds exchanged a look. "We'll find this gate at the bottom of the well?" asked Jojen.
{and then]
"Why?" Meera demanded. "If there's a gate . . ."
"You won't find it. If you did it wouldn't open. Not for you. It's the Black Gate." Sam plucked at the faded black wool of his sleeve. "Only a man of the Night's Watch can open it, he said. A Sworn Brother who has said his words."
"He said." Jojen frowned. "This . . . Coldhands?"
[and then]
A turn or two later Sam stopped suddenly. He was a quarter of the way around the well from Bran and Hodor and six feet farther down, yet Bran could barely see him. He could see the door, though. The Black Gate, Sam had called it, but it wasn't black at all.
It was white weirwood, and there was a face on it.
[and then]
They were white too, and blind. "Who are you?" the door asked, and the well whispered, "Who-who-who-who-who-who-who."
"I am the sword in the darkness," Samwell Tarly said. "I am the watcher on the walls. I am the fire that burns against the cold, the light that brings the dawn, the horn that wakes the sleepers. I am the shield that guards the realms of men."
"Then pass," the door said. Its lips opened, wide and wider and wider still, until nothing at all remained but a great gaping mouth in a ring of wrinkles. Sam stepped aside and waved Jojen through ahead of him. Summer followed, sniffing as he went, and then it was Bran's turn. Hodor ducked, but not low enough. The door's upper lip brushed softly against the top of Bran's head, and a drop of water fell on him and ran slowly down his nose. It was strangely warm, and salty as a tear.
 
This is probably because these additions were added by someone other than the men of the Watch that actually knew the purpose. Additionally, just like the negative aspects of bastards arrives with the Andals and their puritanical ways (the Seven is based heavily on Catholicism), it seems these newly added vows of utter personal restrictions arrives as well. The histories show that the Watch did not care who you prayed to, and in death you could be burned or buried. What mattered was the man holding the vows and protecting the realms of men together. There is more I want to say regarding this aspect, but I am inviting discussion first.

<<--snip for brevity-->>

So, let's discuss what the vows are and what they mean for the future. I know there were many a thread in the ancient forum days discussing just this topic, but they are all archived and new discussion is needed.

When I first read the Black Gate section, I did notice that Sam only answered the 'I am' section of his vows, which is a reasonable answer to being asked 'who are you?', but I also thought there was a bit more to it... like that maybe being the core of the NW words.

Anyway, it sparked off another series of thoughts, which to be honest, didn't lead me to any great conclusions, so I'll chuck it in the pot and let everyone else get their teeth in and worry it a bit in the hopes it might yield a bit more under, hmm, 'sharper questioning', perhaps. Basically, it goes like this:

  • the NW have their 'words'
  • all Westerosi Houses have their 'words'
  • some of those Houses have been around as long as the Wall (or longer...)
  • soooo, can we find any connections between the NW and various Houses by comparing 'words'?

Here's pretty much all I got out of this exercise:

I am the sword in the darkness.

  • House Bolton - Our Blades are Sharp ?
  • House Cerwyn - Honed and Ready ?
  • House Dayne - the big mystery words that would be a spoiler???**

I am the watcher on the walls.

  • House Flint of Widow's Watch - Ever Vigilant
  • House Mormont - Here We Stand ?
  • House Redfort - As Strong as Stone ?

I am the fire that burns against the cold,

  • House Karstark - The Sun of Winter
  • House Marbrand - Burning Bright?

 the light that brings the dawn,

  • House Marbrand - Burning Bright ?
  • House Hightower - We Light the Way
  • House Dayne - the big mystery words that would be a spoiler???**

 the horn that wakes the sleepers,

  • House Swyft - Awake! Awake!

 the shield that guards the realms of men.

  • House Yronwood - We Guard the Way
  • House Allyrion - No Foe May Pass

Of course, I did wonder why none of this 'core set' of words had any match for House Stark, but now I've been somewhat swayed :

On 7/31/2018 at 2:41 AM, kissdbyfire said:

I think the original vow was closer to this:

Night gathers, and now my watch begins.

... because that would make a very good match for 'Winter is Coming', wouldn't it?

I think some of these connections may be suggestive, but I don't get a massive thunderbolt from heaven that makes it all plain and gets me running off to found a new religion or anything (or even a YouTube channel.... which are often founded on less ;)). But of course, if anyone else sees what I can't, please pitch in.

 

** As for House Dayne, it goes beyond the remit of this thread, but I'm sure there's some sort of connection between Dawn-the-sword, Dawn-the-end-of-the-night, and - looking at the Houses whose words are a bit 'shieldlike' in the list above (to go with the sword, perhaps...) - is there also some connection to the Dawn-that-rhymes-with-Dorne???

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16 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

That takes it into weird conspiracy theory territory for me. At this point, we simply don't know much/anything about the Others, and we have no indication whatsoever that there was made a deal between the Others and the Watch. Especially not one making anyone caring about swords.

I'm open to the possibility that the Last Hero may have not exactly 'defeated' the Others but rather worked out some compromise, etc. But if this was the case then pretty much nobody knows it at this point and there is no indication that the Watch are not supposed to war against the Others or are not allowed to draw their swords on them.

Usually only if they go senile.

Sure, I can also see how it happened, it is more that I'd actually really know how they forgot that particular thing. I mean, it is a gate. And people would have used it. There are still streets out there the Romans built. Streets don't go away easily, and neither do town or city gates (because it is a pain in the ass to build them). Gates are not things you have to read about in books.

I can see why it was decided that all the forts along the Wall should have their gates, too, gates that were then cut through the ice rather than being magical gates beneath it (because the Watch no longer had the mojo tomake stuff like that). But why also make that at the Nightfort. To forget a gate like that pretty much all the people serving at the Nightfort must have died at one point. Else the knowledge would have survived.

One can, perhaps, imagine it was decided that using that gate was impractical and cutting 'a proper gate' through the Wall caused them to eventually forget that another gate existed because they no longer used it. That could make sense.

Thinking about the Black Gate, I find the idea we originally had 'many walls' which eventually grew into one not very convincing. I think there is a good chance that the Black Gate (which is essentially a magical weirwood living underground) is actually the focal point of the magic in the Wall. It might be what imbues the Wall with its magic. If that's true, then there must have been some sort of magical fence/ward/whatever from the start. Not the massive wall of ice, but a line of magic preventing the Others and their minions from crossing it. And the Black Gate would have been the only way to cross it.

That would imply that the people back then split up between the Others and the First Men, with the Wall being the border between their spheres of influence. The men who became the wildlings would have remained on the side of the Others at their own peril - possibly because they didn't want to submit to the rulers of the Hundred Kingdoms. This doesn't mean the plan wasn't to allow them in should the Others come back - but over the years the wildlings became not only fierce enemies of the kingdoms in the North (and then the united Stark kingdom) but also of the Night's Watch as such.

And the men of Hundred/Seven Kingdoms feed, support, and pledge their lives to the Night's Watch - not the wildlings. The wildlings never pledged themselves to the support of the order who defends humanity against the Others (at least not as far as we know).

For someone who likes to surround their own opinion with a ton of words, I have to admit, I'm surprised you don't seem to understand what the word 'wonder' means.  As in, if I wonder about something, it doesn't mean I am saying that which I wonder about is true, ya know.  And, 'caring about swords?'  Is it really beyond comprehension that pulling a sword is a hostile act in and of itself, it's not necessarily about caring about a certain sword. 

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11 hours ago, The Fattest Leech said:

Totally. And it’s stealing the power from its neighbor :lol:

ok, for the second time in this thread of mine I am going to go rogue for a minute (too late!). Here’s some crackpot for you 

https://youtu.be/Lagy_VAgHBg

theres even an extension cord :D

 

Ok. Back to work. :whip:

History is coming full circle ( time is a river) and the what we read as the vows nowadays is a corruption of the basics of life. 

LOL  Who said you are allowed to have fun around here?  :fencing:

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22 hours ago, Trefayne said:

Huh? The Others would want a steady supply of wights to bolster their forces. By depriving them of that with the Wall, the Others had to go into hibernation until there were enough people beyond the wall to begin their attacks again.

You are making a lot of assumptions there - like that the Others didn't have a vast army of wights back when they were defeated, or that there were only very few humans in the lands north of where the Wall would be raised.

While it is possible that men migrated into the lands beyond the Wall after the Wall was raised, one should assume that very few people did that considering that the lands and climate is so bad up there that you don't have a lot of incentive to go there.

Quote

It might be why they are moving so slowly and biding their time. They need something overwhelming to tackle the Wall's magical and physical barriers. Otherwise, why not just get a ton of boats and row past the damn thing?

I have no idea. But considering that the Others have yet to make their move we have no idea how there move is going to look like. I could definitely see them using boats and rafts and the like to circumvent the Wall - or just freeze the waters in the aptly named Bay of Ice or the Bay of Seal so they can walk around it.

22 hours ago, The Fattest Leech said:

This got me to wondering... why is Stonedoor named Stonedoor? Could it be related in some "magical" way to both the Black Gate and what Arianne finds in one of her TWOW spoiler chapters?

Doesn't seem very likely at this point considering that the Nightfort is the one singled out as a 'special castle'. It is the only one with stairs in the ice rather than wooden steps, and it is the only one which has a Black Gate thing (as far as we know). It is also the only one that has a lot of stories and legends that give it a weird reputation.

22 hours ago, The Fattest Leech said:

So we have Whitetree and Mole's Town that are both within a short distance to the Wall. I do not have any of the big map/map books so I cannot tell for sure, but there are sure to be to other villages along the way, and most likely on both sides of the wall.

The odd point in connection with the Black Gate is that there is apparently no godswood in any of the castles at the Wall (confirmed for Castle Black, at least). One doubts that the early black brothers marched out in the lands of the Others to make their vows there, especially not since there would have still been plenty of Children on their side of the Wall in those days.

It might that originally the men of the Watch swore their vows in front of the Black Gate rather than in a weirwood grove.

20 hours ago, The Fattest Leech said:

I'm catching up a little while I have a wee bit of free time. I want to get back to this idea and say that I am a little shocked you cann't see this (possible) of all the castles basically joining togther and being linked by the wall. I made the "connect the dots" funny earlier, but that was just to give a visual.

Oh, I can theoretically see that, but the Wall is described in such a way - its builders constructing it along a straight line, and not compensating for the oddities of geography along its course - that it doesn't strike me as likely or convincing that it was put together piece by piece. It might not have been a wall in the beginning (more something like a 'magical fence') but I'm pretty sure whatever magic is in the Wall was there from the start - and along the entire line the Wall was built, from east to west.

The whole 'watchers on the walls' thing can indeed be answered by referring to the walls of castles and ringforts where the original men of the Watch (which may actually predate the beginning of the building of the Wall) may have also watched for Others and wights.

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I cannot find the original link where you told me this (below) a while back, but this connection is not that far off from what you once proposed to me... which is why I added this idea a few pages back. I remembered what you had once said. Here is the paste from another thread I have where I mentioned it.

See above. I have not forgotten that.

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The weirwood at Nighfort could be the source of the wall's magic, or maybe what maintains it. Possibly destroy the tree, destroy the magic, helllloooo common foe! But, we don't really know much about this tree that is truly set apart from the other ones. It seems quite possible that the over time, even before the Nightfort was built, that maybe the ground level was built on like so many hidden/historic cities in the real world. This is reflected also in the quote provided about how the wall has "eaten" so much stone and rock and ice through time.

Hm. Certainly possible. But one wonders why they hid the access to the gate in a well. I mean, why do that?

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The ice wall and the connecting castles could be the necessary extending conductor of this magic (if I got my electricians term correct, which I probably did not).

One thing about the gate weirwood is that the entire tree is not underground (like Bloodraven). The upper portion with the leaves are at least visible and have a good amount of height.

Bloodraven is a man, not a tree. It would look incredibly awkward if his head or foot were above the ground and the rest not. Not to mention that all the weirwoods in the grove above the cave are ... out in the open. Bloodraven is no more a secret than the Black Gate - he is part of the weirwood network in the cave, just as the Black Gate seems to be part of the weirwood at the Nightfort.

14 hours ago, The Sleeper said:

In that context many of the Watch's tenets, like the neutrality or the lack of defensive walls to the south, could be seen as external restrictions imposed on the Watch.

That actually doesn't make a lot of sense. Think about it. The Watch was founded in the days of the Hundred Kingdoms. Back in those days every black brother would have been dealing with blood feuds with his neighbor. If the officers and commanders had allowed that to influence their decisions, there would not only have been war with the Hundred Kingdoms but also in the Watch itself.

The neutrality thing makes little and less sense in the modern day and age where there only Seven Kingdom (six of which are hundreds of leagues away) and then a united Realm. But back in the day when even the North had not yet been conquered and subdued by the Starks, the desire to involve the Watch in the petty struggles of the petty kings would have been much larger - especially if we assume how powerful the Watch would have been as a military order with recruits from all the Hundred Kingdoms in comparison to a single petty kingdom - or even a coalition of petty kings.

The Watch likely was the strongest military power in Westeros for thousands of years.

7 hours ago, Lady Fevre Dream said:

For someone who likes to surround their own opinion with a ton of words, I have to admit, I'm surprised you don't seem to understand what the word 'wonder' means.  As in, if I wonder about something, it doesn't mean I am saying that which I wonder about is true, ya know.  And, 'caring about swords?'  Is it really beyond comprehension that pulling a sword is a hostile act in and of itself, it's not necessarily about caring about a certain sword. 

The issue is that I see no reason to assume there was some pact between the NW and the Others, nor is there any reason to believe the meeting of Waymar and the Others was the first between the Watch and the Others in recent years. The Others could have been on the move as early as Bloodraven becoming the Last Greenseer. And they most definitely weren't on good terms with the wildlings in recent years.

There is no reason to believe that the conflict between the Others and the NW (and humanity as such) only began in the Prologue of AGoT.

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10 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

You are making a lot of assumptions there - like that the Others didn't have a vast army of wights back when they were defeated, or that there were only very few humans in the lands north of where the Wall would be raised.

While it is possible that men migrated into the lands beyond the Wall after the Wall was raised, one should assume that very few people did that considering that the lands and climate is so bad up there that you don't have a lot of incentive to go there.

Of course I'm making assumptions, we have very few reliable facts on this topic. I just thought that it could be a viable reason for a physical barrier replacing a magical one, say a long line of weirwoods that informed the original barrier line of the Wall, i.e. your fence, that wouldn't trouble a human.

Well, Wall or not, the Free Folk manage to swell into tens of thousands in that harsh land slowly, but surely, over time. That seemed to be enough incentive to get the Others moving again. We don't know of any other reason since the Wildlings were acting out of type by working together when they never had before. They were really scared of something. Something that they feared more than the Wall or the Watch or even the Seven Kingdoms.

The Halfhand and then Jon saw that. Mormont trusted them and saw for himself, but sadly, had to be killed for plot reasons. Can you imagine if the Craster's massacre hadn't happened that Mormont wouldn't have marched down to KL himself and demanded some help? I know I would have as LC.

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