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Kings Beyond the Wall. and yes, Bael the infamous bard. (Updated again)

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So i know i've talked about this a lil before but i wanted to be more thorough and cover all the Kings Beyond the Wall, not just the one of interest to me.

Quote

A Clash of Kings - Jon III

"Wildlings have invaded the realm before." Jon had heard the tales from Old Nan and Maester Luwin both, back at Winterfell. "Raymun Redbeard led them south in the time of my grandfather's grandfather, and before him there was a king named Bael the Bard."

"Aye, and long before them came the Horned Lord and the brother kings Gendel and Gorne, and in ancient days Joramun, who blew the Horn of Winter and woke giants from the earth. Each man of them broke his strength on the Wall, or was broken by the power of Winterfell on the far side

Raymund Red Beard, and Before him, Bael the Bard.

To which Qorhin agrees, and responds by finishing the list for us.

"and long before them came the Horned Lord and the brother kings Gendel and Gorne, and in ancient days Joramun"

So the order of Kings Beyond the Wall working back wards goes

Mance Rayder

Raymund Red Beard

Bael the Bard

The Horned Lord

Gendel and Gorne

Joramun.

Now we can date many of these to rough time frames as well 

Quote

A Storm of Swords - Jon III

"Aye," said Ygritte. "Together with his brother Gendel, three thousand years ago. They led a host o' free folk through the caves, and the Watch was none the wiser. But when they come out, the wolves o' Winterfell fell upon them."
 
 
Quote

The World of Ice and Fire - The Wall and Beyond: The Wildlings

The brothers Gendel and Gorne were joint kings three thousand years ago. Leading their host down beneath the earth into a labyrinth of twisting subterranean caverns, they passed beneath the Wall unseen to attack the North. Gorne slew the Stark king in battle, then was killed in turn by the king's heir, and Gendel and his remaining wildlings fled back to their caverns, never to been seen again.
The Horned Lord would follow them, a thousand years after (or perhaps two). His name is lost to history, but he was said to have used sorcery to pass the Wall. After him, centuries later, came Bael the Bard, 
 
So aside from Jon and Qorhin discussing it, we have the Maesters confirming the order for us, while providing a date for the Horned Lord.
 
We know Mance is in 300Ac  and we know that Raymund Red Beard was in 226Ac.
 
So thus we can determine the list as such.
 
Mance Rayder                   - 300Ac
 
Raymund Red Beard         - 226 Ac
 
Bael the Bard                     - Some time after Andals but before Targaryens? 13-1400BC or 500-400Bc?
 
And Long before them.
 
The Horned Lord               - 1700Bc or 700 Bc (only centuries before Bael)
 
Gendle and Gorne           - 2700Bc
 
And In Ancient Days.
 
Joramun                            - Unknown.
 
 
As you can see though, aside from the tale of Ygritte, we have confirmation of the Order of the Kings Beyond the Wall from both Jon, Qorhin, and a Maester. 
 
Edit- Addittion
Quote

A Clash of Kings - Jon VI

Jon had never heard this tale before. "Which Brandon was this supposed to be? Brandon the Builder lived in the Age of Heroes, thousands of years before Bael. There was Brandon the Burner and his father Brandon the Shipwright, but—"

"This was Brandon the Daughterless," Ygritte said sharply. "Would you hear the tale, or no?"

He scowled. "Go on."

 

Quote

A Game of Thrones - Bran VII

He looked at the passing faces and the tales came back to him. The maester had told him the stories, and Old Nan had made them come alive. "That one is Jon Stark. When the sea raiders landed in the east, he drove them out and built the castle at White Harbor. His son was Rickard Stark, not my father's father but another Rickard, he took the Neck away from the Marsh King and married his daughter. Theon Stark's the real thin one with the long hair and the skinny beard. They called him the 'Hungry Wolf,' because he was always at war. That's a Brandon, the tall one with the dreamy face, he was Brandon the Shipwright, because he loved the sea. His tomb is empty. He tried to sail west across the Sunset Sea and was never seen again. His son was Brandon the Burner, because he put the torch to all his father's ships in grief. There's Rodrik Stark, who won Bear Island in a wrestling match and gave it to the Mormonts. And that's Torrhen Stark, the King Who Knelt. He was the last King in the North and the first Lord of Winterfell, after he yielded to Aegon the Conqueror. Oh, there, he's Cregan Stark. He fought with Prince Aemon once, and the Dragonknight said he'd never faced a finer swordsman." They were almost at the end now, and Bran felt a sadness creeping over him. "And there's my grandfather, Lord Rickard, who was beheaded by Mad King Aerys. His daughter Lyanna and his son Brandon are in the tombs beside him. Not me, another Brandon, my father's brother. They're not supposed to have statues, that's only for the lords and the kings, but my father loved them so much he had them done."

Brandon the Burner is shortly before Aegon Targaryen Conquered Westeros.

Wyman agrees with me.

 

Quote

A Clash of Kings - Bran II

"We have had no strength at sea for hundreds of years, since Brandon the Burner put the torch to his father's ships. Grant me the gold and within the year I will float you sufficient galleys to take Dragonstone and King's Landing both."
 
 
Update- 
 
Quote

Ran (Elio Garcia) - Are you sure? That scenario is impossible. Bael's a pre-Targaryen figure.

 
 
Quote

 

If you want to figure out a family's descent, the names are a better clue than the eyes. Houses descended from the First Men tend to have simple short names, often descriptive. Stark. Reed. Flint. Tallhart (tall hart). Etc. The Valyrian names are fairly distinct are well: The "ae" usage usually suggests a Valyrian in the family tree. The Andal names are . . . well, neith Stark nor Targaryen, if that makes sense. Lannister. Arryn. Tyrell. Etc. Of course, you also need to remember that there have been hundreds and in some cases thousands of years of interbreeding, so hardly anyone is pure Andal or First Man.
                                                                                                                                                                - GRRM

 

 

 

Bael - Yep

Rhaegar - Yep

Peter Baelish - Yep

Dayne - Nope

House Stane - Nope (Skagos)

Bael is not Bayle, he is Bael. So make of that what you will.
 
Edited by AlaskanSandman
Updated with backing quote from Jon on Bael's rough time frame.

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Wellll, you could have progressed a little further with this quote:

Quote

The Horned Lord would follow them, a thousand years after (or perhaps two). His name is lost to history, but he was said to have used sorcery to pass the Wall. After him, centuries later, came Bael the Bard, whose songs are still sung beyond the Wall...but there are questions as to whether he truly existed or not. The wildlings say he did and credit many songs to his name, but the old chronicles of Winterfell say nothing of him. Whether this was due to the defeats and humiliations he was said to have visited upon them (including, according to one improbable story, deflowering a Stark maid and getting her with child) or because he never existed, we cannot truly say.

According to Ygritte, the LoW was a Brandon - and a LORD, suggesting it was post-Conquest, so you would have thought that records would exist, and somehow despite the lack of records Jon knew this much:

Quote

A Clash of Kings - Jon III

"Wildlings have invaded the realm before." Jon had heard the tales from Old Nan and Maester Luwin both, back at Winterfell. "Raymun Redbeard led them south in the time of my grandfather's grandfather, and before him there was a king named Bael the Bard."

Then there's this:

Quote

A Clash of Kings - Jon VI

"Aye," she said, "but the gods hate kinslayers, even when they kill unknowing. When Lord Stark returned from the battle and his mother saw Bael's head upon his spear, she threw herself from a tower in her grief. Her son did not long outlive her. One o' his lords peeled the skin off him and wore him for a cloak."

"Your Bael was a liar," he told her, certain now.

"No," Ygritte said, "but a bard's truth is different than yours or mine. Anyway, you asked for the story, so I told it." She turned away from him, closed her eyes, and seemed to sleep.

Could a Bolton have really done that post-Conquest, and there be no stories about it now??

Edited by Rufus Snow

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15 minutes ago, Rufus Snow said:

Wellll, you could have progressed a little further with this quote:

According to Ygritte, the LoW was a Brandon - and a LORD, suggesting it was post-Conquest, so you would have thought that records would exist, and somehow despite the lack of records Jon knew this much:

Then there's this:

Could a Bolton have really done that post-Conquest, and there be no stories about it now??

Seemed irrelevant and pointless. But for the sake of playing along "If Bael existed, he for sure existed between 1300BC and up to 100AC", with it likely being closer to 100 Ac as Kingsroad and Lord Starks are mentioned.

So you can mention how Bael could happen and records not exist, yet still Jon know of it as you point out in the quote, but then question how the Boltons could flay a Stark or any one post conquest and it not get recorded? Har

Well Roose has been getting away with hanging people and practicing Lords Right to First Knight, and Ramsay was flaying people for gods know how long before he got to Theon. I wonder if Maesters will write of Theon's misfortunes, or if they even know. I can't imagine Theon running around bragging about it.

No matter how you look at it, the argument has always been "Bael had to be in ancient days before the Starks subdued the Red Kings, as the Boltons could never get away with it after.

The quotes in the OG post by Jon, Qorhin, and a Maester at the Citidel. Bael was in more recent times.

Quote

 

"Wildlings have invaded the realm before." Jon had heard the tales from Old Nan and Maester Luwin both, back at Winterfell. "Raymun Redbeard led them south in the time of my grandfather's grandfather, and before him there was a king named Bael the Bard."

"Aye, and long before them came the Horned Lord and the brother kings Gendel and Gorne, and in ancient days Joramun, who blew the Horn of Winter and woke giants from the earth. Each man of them broke his strength on the Wall, or was broken by the power of Winterfell on the far side

The World of Ice and Fire - The Wall and Beyond: The Wildlings

The brothers Gendel and Gorne were joint kings three thousand years ago. Leading their host down beneath the earth into a labyrinth of twisting subterranean caverns, they passed beneath the Wall unseen to attack the North. Gorne slew the Stark king in battle, then was killed in turn by the king's heir, and Gendel and his remaining wildlings fled back to their caverns, never to been seen again.
The Horned Lord would follow them, a thousand years after (or perhaps two). His name is lost to history, but he was said to have used sorcery to pass the Wall. After him, centuries later, came Bael the Bard, 

 

So Bael was closer to Raymund than he was the Horned Lord, and Bael was only separated by the Horned Lord by a couple hundred years. Plus Bael traveled the Kingsroad, and stole from a Lord Stark. 

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38 minutes ago, Rufus Snow said:

Wellll, you could have progressed a little further with this quote:

According to Ygritte, the LoW was a Brandon - and a LORD, suggesting it was post-Conquest, so you would have thought that records would exist, and somehow despite the lack of records Jon knew this much:

Then there's this:

Could a Bolton have really done that post-Conquest, and there be no stories about it now??

Why would the Free Folk make up stories about some make believe King who never existed?

That is some how also told of in Winterfell for Jon to know about him, even if they dont tell in Winterfell about Bael stealing the Stark Lords Son.

So, the Free Folk, and Winterfell tell make believe stories about an imaginary king beyond the wall? The Story being made up some time between 1300bc to Jaehaerys time at least. (Cause im not even gonna pretend like it's possible Bael existed in Ancient days, when Qorhin flat out list him as wellll after ancient days. lol). Im just trying to understand the debate against Bael having existed, and having existed in the time of the Kingsroad.  

Edited by AlaskanSandman

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42 minutes ago, Rufus Snow said:

Wellll, you could have progressed a little further with this quote:

According to Ygritte, the LoW was a Brandon - and a LORD, suggesting it was post-Conquest, so you would have thought that records would exist, and somehow despite the lack of records Jon knew this much:

Then there's this:

Could a Bolton have really done that post-Conquest, and there be no stories about it now??

Also curious, if the Starks have no records about Bael the Bard. How is a Maester from Old Town writing about it? Why would they know of Bael the Bard? 

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4 hours ago, AlaskanSandman said:

Also curious, if the Starks have no records about Bael the Bard. How is a Maester from Old Town writing about it? Why would they know of Bael the Bard? 

Yes, now you're asking questions  :thumbsup:

For me, that Ygritte says it was a 'Lord of Winterfell' rather than a 'King of Winter'/'King of the North' is interesting, as it pins the story firmly post-Conquest. How come Jon hears from the maester and the local aged hag about this story, when there is no official record???

4 hours ago, AlaskanSandman said:

Why would the Free Folk make up stories about some make believe King who never existed?

Probly the same reason, I, as a natural-born Englishman, swear undying fealty to Arthur, REX QUONDAM REXQUE FUTURUS

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5 hours ago, Rufus Snow said:

Yes, now you're asking questions  :thumbsup:

For me, that Ygritte says it was a 'Lord of Winterfell' rather than a 'King of Winter'/'King of the North' is interesting, as it pins the story firmly post-Conquest. How come Jon hears from the maester and the local aged hag about this story, when there is no official record???

Probly the same reason, I, as a natural-born Englishman, swear undying fealty to Arthur, REX QUONDAM REXQUE FUTURUS

Wow, just lost my whole response. lame.

Any ways. Arent' those told as children's tales? I didn't think the English sat around as grown ups still telling that tale to each other.

Maybe it's cause i saw the cartoons first and im not English, but i never thought King Author or Robin Hood were real.

There are no records of the Night Kings name either. Simply cause the Starks didn't want to record it. 

Why would the Starks want to record Bael stealing their daughter and knocking her up, supplanting their line? That makes little to no sense. 

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5 hours ago, AlaskanSandman said:

Wow, just lost my whole response. lame.

Any ways. Arent' those told as children's tales? I didn't think the English sat around as grown ups still telling that tale to each other.

Maybe it's cause i saw the cartoons first and im not English, but i never thought King Author or Robin Hood were real.

Yes, well, cartoons have a lot to answer for... :D This all comes back into the difficulties of interpreting the tales in ASoIaF. Today there are still people who'll take your 'Arthur wasn't real' as fighting talk, and as many who'll agree it's all just nonsense... it's complicated.

The fact that a story might be told AS a children's tale, doesn't imply it is ONLY a children's tale. And I think that applies in Westeros as it does here. Going back in time the English certainly did sit around obsessing over the Arthurian Romances, they were the ASoIaF of the day; heck, even English kings were so into the story that one of the Edwards actually had a Round Table made. It's deep in the English psyche, even if not everyone knows chapter and verse of all the different literary traditions that have carried it forward in time. There's a big difference in 'believing in' Arthur, and 'believing Arthur was real'.

We can't even ask what is the 'definitive story', because there isn't one. There is a corpus of works stretching from Chretien de Troyes to Mallory to the Welsh Mabinogion, and pretty much every generation rewrites the mythos for its own age. It's a living tale. And I believe that this is the sort of impression GRRM wants to make with all the tales and songs and records in ASoIaF.

Whether Arthur, Bael, Robin Hood, the Night King, the Rat Cook, Merlin, or Noah ever existed is not the point - it's whether they provide a nexus of belief for binding a culture together. Wildlings believe in Bael because he exemplifies the success of their values; the Starks may deny his existence, because that exemplifies their values.

5 hours ago, AlaskanSandman said:

There are no records of the Night Kings name either. Simply cause the Starks didn't want to record it. 

Why would the Starks want to record Bael stealing their daughter and knocking her up, supplanting their line? That makes little to no sense. 

Or maybe there never was a Night King? Even Nan suggests a list of possible different names, which suggests, like our Arthur mythos, there are different strands to the story, told slightly differently in different places. I think GRRM was giving us a big hint when he allowed Hos to prattle on to Jaime: "Past a certain point, all the dates grow hazy and confused, and the clarity of history becomes the fog of legend."  I think if we ever reach a consensus date for the Andal invasion, we'll have done well.

That's why - even though I persist in the effort - I don't think we'll ever be able to settle on a firm historic timeline. The stories are too many, and too varied, and too contradictory. If we are to believe in the longer timescales on offer, they go well beyond anything our own world claims for 'memory'. We still even can't be sure whether the Egyptian king lists are duplicated or represent competing dynasties and so on.... and they left records.

And Ygritte was also right: It all depends where you stand. And this is pertinent to Bael. To make a decision on whether he was 'real' or not, is to choose a side. There's no objectivity to it - you have to make a choice between the oral tradition of an illiterate raider society, or the written records of a literate settled society, when both have issues of identity tied in to those tales. :dunno: They both have reasons to tell the truth, or to lie, take your pick...

 

Finally, Freudian Typo of the Year Award goes to:

6 hours ago, AlaskanSandman said:

King Author

:cheers:

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1 hour ago, Rufus Snow said:

Yes, well, cartoons have a lot to answer for... :D This all comes back into the difficulties of interpreting the tales in ASoIaF. Today there are still people who'll take your 'Arthur wasn't real' as fighting talk, and as many who'll agree it's all just nonsense... it's complicated.

The fact that a story might be told AS a children's tale, doesn't imply it is ONLY a children's tale. And I think that applies in Westeros as it does here. Going back in time the English certainly did sit around obsessing over the Arthurian Romances, they were the ASoIaF of the day; heck, even English kings were so into the story that one of the Edwards actually had a Round Table made. It's deep in the English psyche, even if not everyone knows chapter and verse of all the different literary traditions that have carried it forward in time. There's a big difference in 'believing in' Arthur, and 'believing Arthur was real'.

We can't even ask what is the 'definitive story', because there isn't one. There is a corpus of works stretching from Chretien de Troyes to Mallory to the Welsh Mabinogion, and pretty much every generation rewrites the mythos for its own age. It's a living tale. And I believe that this is the sort of impression GRRM wants to make with all the tales and songs and records in ASoIaF.

Whether Arthur, Bael, Robin Hood, the Night King, the Rat Cook, Merlin, or Noah ever existed is not the point - it's whether they provide a nexus of belief for binding a culture together. Wildlings believe in Bael because he exemplifies the success of their values; the Starks may deny his existence, because that exemplifies their values.

Or maybe there never was a Night King? Even Nan suggests a list of possible different names, which suggests, like our Arthur mythos, there are different strands to the story, told slightly differently in different places. I think GRRM was giving us a big hint when he allowed Hos to prattle on to Jaime: "Past a certain point, all the dates grow hazy and confused, and the clarity of history becomes the fog of legend."  I think if we ever reach a consensus date for the Andal invasion, we'll have done well.

That's why - even though I persist in the effort - I don't think we'll ever be able to settle on a firm historic timeline. The stories are too many, and too varied, and too contradictory. If we are to believe in the longer timescales on offer, they go well beyond anything our own world claims for 'memory'. We still even can't be sure whether the Egyptian king lists are duplicated or represent competing dynasties and so on.... and they left records.

And Ygritte was also right: It all depends where you stand. And this is pertinent to Bael. To make a decision on whether he was 'real' or not, is to choose a side. There's no objectivity to it - you have to make a choice between the oral tradition of an illiterate raider society, or the written records of a literate settled society, when both have issues of identity tied in to those tales. :dunno: They both have reasons to tell the truth, or to lie, take your pick...

 

Finally, Freudian Typo of the Year Award goes to:

:cheers:

Typo, dont read too much into it lol 

And though that's an interesting insight (seriously, cause in the U.S. we have no legends close to our current history. Only legends come from the old counties we all come from) , im not sure that's actually applicable to the story though. Applying real world to fantasy often fails, and one man cannot be expected to reign into a novel all the complexities of our world. 

Besides, last time i checked, historians mostly agree that Arthur likely was a real man, Robin Hood was myth, and even even the gods of Greece were likely real men. Troy existed. 

To pretend like any of these legends hold no truth is bonkers. That they added to the story is likely, but that there is still truth. 

Were the English kings actually ordained by god? Holy people? Godly in their own right? Probably not, but they still existed. 

Was Alexander the son of Zeus? Not likely, but Alexander existed. 

Some of this is hard to discuss with out possibly offending people as some stories such as moses and jesus are tied to still existing religions, so debating the authenticity of their tales or the origin of where they came, though possibly applicable, seems off limits in this forum. Which is ironic, for a forum about a book, that discusses religion and legend. But hey.

That being said though,

The fact that Hbo is making their next show specifically about the Long Night. I would say its not some imaginary time period and that GRRM did not just write some non sense of a history that is little more than that, sense less non-sense. Which i dont understand why an author would do that any ways, that's alot of wasted writing time, on material for your book that serves little to no narrative function other than to pad the length of your book and mythology. I like to think GRRM is not only better than that, but more creative than that.

You have 3 ways of looking at this story. 

The way presented to you, as the Maesters want you to understand it. - Everything is a mess, nothing makes sense, magic isn't real. (which we know isn't the case)

The way our history works, in which even legends hold truths - Most of the legends are twisted, but hold truths (Most likely the case, as we've seen first hand in the novels how the info recorded with Eddards rebellion against the throne. WE know there is more to the story, but the Maesters only recorded a fraction of the truth. )

Or, that everything is real and connected - Not likely the case as the stories contradict each other.

Edited by AlaskanSandman

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17 minutes ago, AlaskanSandman said:

Typo, dont read too much into it lol 

Don't be so modest, it was briliant :thumbsup:

 

14 minutes ago, AlaskanSandman said:

The way our history works, in which even legends hold truths - Most of the legends are twisted, but hold truths (Most likely the case, as we've seen first hand in the novels how the info recorded with Eddards rebellion against the throne. WE know there is more to the story, but the Maesters only recorded a fraction of the truth. )

Very much this. Although I am saying the legends/tales/songs etc are not the exact truth, I don't deny there is truth in them, same as with real world mythologies. But we are so far away from the facts that we can't tell which bits are the truth and which bits are the corruption. I'm just cautioning against extrapolating too much from uncertain material.

36 minutes ago, AlaskanSandman said:

And though that's an interesting insight (seriously, cause in the U.S. we have no legends close to our current history. Only legends come from the old counties we all come from) , im not sure that's actually applicable to the story though. Applying real world to fantasy often fails, and one man cannot be expected to reign into a novel all the complexities of our world. 

I think the George gets it, he's been immersed in all these ideas for a long while. And I always reckoned that fantasy was a great way to discuss the real world in terms that can be insightful without getting too personal about anyone's (RL) religion...

36 minutes ago, AlaskanSandman said:

Besides, last time i checked, historians mostly agree that Arthur likely was a real man, Robin Hood was myth, and even even the gods of Greece were likely real men. Troy existed. 

To pretend like any of these legends hold no truth is bonkers. That they added to the story is likely, but that there is still truth. 

As above, my case is not that there's NO truth, just that what there is has been buried and manipulated.

For my money, given a time machine, you wouldn't be able to go back and meet someone who thinks of himself as 'King Arthur', but you might be able to find a handful of people whose exploits and achievements have been woven together into a tale that eventually came to be ascribed to someone called King Arthur.

But all that said, Bael could only have existed 200-250ish years in the past, whereas Arthur's roots go back a good 1400 years. There's a great deal of difference in cultural transmission over those timescales. The difference in the stories on either side of the Wall tells us almost as much as the stories themselves.

I'd agree regarding Troy - we know exactly where it is. I also believe the Trojan War happened. We know the Wall exists, and I believe there was a Long Night. But drawing parallels, we know WWII happened as well, but I place (for example) the Night King, or the Last Hero, or Hector and Paris, on the same level of reality as Private Ryan.

Again, we can't jump into a time machine to meet the 'real' Private Ryan, but that doesn't mean his story is without value to the society telling that story or that there weren't thousands of real soldiers caught up in those events. But what his storyline can tell us about the truth of Normandy in 1944 depends entirely on what the writers put into their story - it will contain truth, it will reflect reality, but it isn't entirely true either, and some of it might even be regarded as propaganda. I think the same can be said of Bael's songs and Homer's Iliad

 

Anyway, I've waffled on again, when what was most interesting to me was the origins of the whole 'king beyond the wall' phenomenon. According to the tales, First Men were already living well to the north of the Wall's current location before the Long Night. We don't have any indication why the Wall was built there specifically (though like with Hadrian's Wall, the narrowness of the landmass there may be a factor). How come some people stayed 'beyond the Wall' in the first place? And given that the FM were already used to their (petty) kings before the Long Night, when and why did those to the North decide they were kingless 'free folk'? This division of the landmass has had quite an effect, culturally, but we don't hear many tales about that aspect. Is this related to them staying in closer contact with the Elder Races - or the weirwoods?

The other interesting thing, if we accept the timings given by Yandel, is that KbtWs seem to be rising with increasing frequency - the gaps between them are getting shorter. Is that something or nothing?

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39 minutes ago, Rufus Snow said:

Don't be so modest, it was briliant :thumbsup:

 

Very much this. Although I am saying the legends/tales/songs etc are not the exact truth, I don't deny there is truth in them, same as with real world mythologies. But we are so far away from the facts that we can't tell which bits are the truth and which bits are the corruption. I'm just cautioning against extrapolating too much from uncertain material.

I think the George gets it, he's been immersed in all these ideas for a long while. And I always reckoned that fantasy was a great way to discuss the real world in terms that can be insightful without getting too personal about anyone's (RL) religion...

As above, my case is not that there's NO truth, just that what there is has been buried and manipulated.

For my money, given a time machine, you wouldn't be able to go back and meet someone who thinks of himself as 'King Arthur', but you might be able to find a handful of people whose exploits and achievements have been woven together into a tale that eventually came to be ascribed to someone called King Arthur.

But all that said, Bael could only have existed 200-250ish years in the past, whereas Arthur's roots go back a good 1400 years. There's a great deal of difference in cultural transmission over those timescales. The difference in the stories on either side of the Wall tells us almost as much as the stories themselves.

I'd agree regarding Troy - we know exactly where it is. I also believe the Trojan War happened. We know the Wall exists, and I believe there was a Long Night. But drawing parallels, we know WWII happened as well, but I place (for example) the Night King, or the Last Hero, or Hector and Paris, on the same level of reality as Private Ryan.

Again, we can't jump into a time machine to meet the 'real' Private Ryan, but that doesn't mean his story is without value to the society telling that story or that there weren't thousands of real soldiers caught up in those events. But what his storyline can tell us about the truth of Normandy in 1944 depends entirely on what the writers put into their story - it will contain truth, it will reflect reality, but it isn't entirely true either, and some of it might even be regarded as propaganda. I think the same can be said of Bael's songs and Homer's Iliad

 

Anyway, I've waffled on again, when what was most interesting to me was the origins of the whole 'king beyond the wall' phenomenon. According to the tales, First Men were already living well to the north of the Wall's current location before the Long Night. We don't have any indication why the Wall was built there specifically (though like with Hadrian's Wall, the narrowness of the landmass there may be a factor). How come some people stayed 'beyond the Wall' in the first place? And given that the FM were already used to their (petty) kings before the Long Night, when and why did those to the North decide they were kingless 'free folk'? This division of the landmass has had quite an effect, culturally, but we don't hear many tales about that aspect. Is this related to them staying in closer contact with the Elder Races - or the weirwoods?

The other interesting thing, if we accept the timings given by Yandel, is that KbtWs seem to be rising with increasing frequency - the gaps between them are getting shorter. Is that something or nothing?

Hahaha oh gosh, i hope people in the future they dont think Private Ryan was real lol but i totally get what your saying 

Trying to pick at the small kernels of truth are definitely hard, that's for sure. Which is why im trying to approach some of these from different angles. 

Bael could be just a legend, but he also seems like a plot device important to Jon beyond just Jon. Im still working on my thread for this, but contained within Jon's chapters are Bael, Mance, A Blue Rose, Alysanne, Jaehaerys, the Crypts, and the Horn of Joramun. 

For instance, Ashara Dayne is spoken of in Daenerys chapters (or someone like Barristan close to her), and Rhaegar is spoken of. Along with Eggs, and other odd and end  bits, that all pertain to her journey. Her development as a character. Is Ashara the Mother of Daenerys? Is Rhaegar really her brother? Who was the prince that Ashara killed herself over? Oberyn? His brother? The Prince is said to have died. So that only leaves Lewyn Martell or Rhaegar. Dany hears legends of what? Legends of moons cracking and birthing dragons. Why? Cause it's important to her journey. 

So back to Jon. Contained within Jon's chapters are Bael, Mance, A Blue Rose, Alysanne, Jaehaerys, the Crypts, and the Horn of Joramun. 

Bran is his Barristan (Side character with added info to their journey). Bran gives us, The Knight of the Laughing Tree, The Night King, Queens Crown, Alysanne, Jaehaerys, Night Fort, Black Gate, Cold hands, and Bloodraven. 

So how are these all connected to Jon's Journey? How is Bael's legend tied to Jon's journey the same way that Dothraki moon legends are? This is how i look at it. Plot devices. 

Who's cultures custom is it to steal women? Who's legend involves giving a blue rose? Who's legend involves fighting their own son at the wall? Mance. Not Rhaegar, Mance.

How do you make the south care about you? How do you change the chances of your people getting across the wall? Make them blood. 

Who is Mance's parents? Why does Selyse and Qhorin say Mance is of the North, yet Osha says he's not, comparing her self to Mance. 

Why are the Spearwives trying to search the Crypts of Winterfell? Could it be Mance needs the Horn of Joramun that is likely in the Crypts?

Why did Qhorin deliver Jon to Mance? (Go back and look at Qhorins actions)

Which ranger told Qhorin about the cave and the Shadow cat? Maybe his old pal Mance? Who was attacked by a shadow cat.

Why are we told about the Night of the Laughing Tree? In Brans chapter (jon's side character) while the tale also happens to mention a Black Brother in attendance at the Tourney?

At that same Tourney a blue rose, per wildling tradition, is given. Then a female taken. Mance fights Jon at the wall too. 

Why are we told about Queenscrown twice? Alysanne? Bael being possibly in their time. 
 

Plot devices. 

Edit- Yes we do also hear of Ashara in Brans' chapter. This again is likely tied to Alysanne and Bael. Remember, Baels legend includes him stealing a Stark maid. Yet in my Alysanne theory, i keep hammering home Queenscrown and Alysanne having a child there. There is a reason for this. Tied likely to the song, two hearts that beat as one, which is sang by two women and a man. The dragon must have 3 heads. 

Edited by AlaskanSandman

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There is just no way Bael the Bard lived during the Targaryen era. None at all.

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54 minutes ago, Lord Varys said:

There is just no way Bael the Bard lived during the Targaryen era. None at all.

How can you square that with him fighting a Lord of Winterfell and not a King of the North?

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16 minutes ago, Rufus Snow said:

How can you square that with him fighting a Lord of Winterfell and not a King of the North?

With the fact that a woman told that story who might not even really know that the Seven Kingdoms were conquered by the Targaryens, much less that there are Seven Kingdoms or Targaryens.

Ygritte doesn't even know what a castle is - there is no reason to believe she understands the difference between a lord and a king - or truly knows that the Starks were kings once, and not just Lords of Winterfell.

If Bael lived during the Targaryen era, TWoIaF would have conquered the war against him in considerable detail - both in the Targaryen section as well as the North section.

And there is no way that a huge scandal as stories about the mysterious grandson of Lord Stark wouldn't have made the Starks the laughingstock of the Seven Kingdoms? A lord who has the king legitimize a wildling bastard as his grandson and heir? And then a Bolton skinning that guy?

Not a chance.

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3 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

With the fact that a woman told that story who might not even really know that the Seven Kingdoms were conquered by the Targaryens, much less that there are Seven Kingdoms or Targaryens.

Ygritte doesn't even know what a castle is - there is no reason to believe she understands the difference between a lord and a king - or truly knows that the Starks were kings once, and not just Lords of Winterfell.

If Bael lived during the Targaryen era, TWoIaF would have conquered the war against him in considerable detail - both in the Targaryen section as well as the North section.

And there is no way that a huge scandal as stories about the mysterious grandson of Lord Stark wouldn't have made the Starks the laughingstock of the Seven Kingdoms? A lord who has the king legitimize a wildling bastard as his grandson and heir? And then a Bolton skinning that guy?

Not a chance.

That makes no sense.

If Ygriite was told a tale, she would remember the tale at least, irregardless if she understood the depth of what she was saying. 

Example. If some one told her a tale that mentions a castle, and they simply said it was their home. Then that's all the context she would have, so mistaking Queens crown for a castle is understandable and hardly pokes holes in the story she was told.

Why would Ygritte care about lords or kings? or the difference? She's repeating the tale she was told, no more, no less. 

If i tell you a riddle i was told, while not knowing the answer my self, does that poke holes in the riddle? No. The Riddle is still the Riddle told proper, i just dont understand the riddle or its answer my self

I knew of many things before actually knowing what they were, that happens. 
 

Why would the Starks announce to any one what happened to them? Why would he announce that he was duped? Why not just make up some father, using some dude who just died? A Lydden/Lannister situation? 

And why would the South know or care? Since when is the North of any interest to the people of the south? Laughing Stock? Seems a lil over board. Starks never even come south before Cregan during the Targaryens. So, what relationship could the North and South possible share? The North doesnt care about southern ways or traditions, hence no andal customs, hence weirwood trees. If the South had a say, they would have started with the Weirwoods. 

And a i laugh about the Bolton thing. Roose has been practicing First Night and same with Umbers under the Starks nose, Ramsay was flaying people under Eddards nose even, let alone during Robbs time.

And im pretty sure no one in the south has once reported about Theon skinning the Stark Kids/Miller Boys and hanging them. Why are you so sure about this? Other than word reaching  Robb, the Iron Throne and Maesters i dont recall mentioning it once. TWOIAF is even written during the Reign of Tommen, after Theon and the Miller boys were flayed. Where is the southern out cry??

 

Edited by AlaskanSandman

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3 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

With the fact that a woman told that story who might not even really know that the Seven Kingdoms were conquered by the Targaryens, much less that there are Seven Kingdoms or Targaryens.

Ygritte doesn't even know what a castle is - there is no reason to believe she understands the difference between a lord and a king - or truly knows that the Starks were kings once, and not just Lords of Winterfell.

If Bael lived during the Targaryen era, TWoIaF would have conquered the war against him in considerable detail - both in the Targaryen section as well as the North section.

And there is no way that a huge scandal as stories about the mysterious grandson of Lord Stark wouldn't have made the Starks the laughingstock of the Seven Kingdoms? A lord who has the king legitimize a wildling bastard as his grandson and heir? And then a Bolton skinning that guy?

Not a chance.

I wonder if it will make the history books that Tommen, Joffery and Marcella are Lannisters on both sides? 

Or if, Like the Stark, the Maesters know nothing of the Truth and simply report them as legitimate? I Mean, it's not like the Lannisters had some king go and legitimize their little bastards. They just, you know, snuck them in. 

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9 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

With the fact that a woman told that story who might not even really know that the Seven Kingdoms were conquered by the Targaryens, much less that there are Seven Kingdoms or Targaryens.

Ygritte doesn't even know what a castle is - there is no reason to believe she understands the difference between a lord and a king - or truly knows that the Starks were kings once, and not just Lords of Winterfell.

Ygritte makes it pretty clear her source for the Bael story are the songs allegedly written by Bael himself. If Bael had crossed the Wall and deflowered a Stark princess rather than a 'Stark maiden' he could have written a much prettier song for himself.

Of course, Bael couldn't have written the song about being killed by his own son, and it seems those living south of the Wall who comment on the whole thing (being Luwin and Jon) seem only to know that Bael was a KbtW and was killed on a raid/invasion. The thirty-years-beforehand expedition is only in the Wildling tradition, that we can see. It may or may not be true. But even if it's made up, those beyond the wall still seem to be well aware of the Starks and their titles. If it's only a tall tale, then why not tell it against a King rather than a Lord - especially if that was the case? It makes no sense to brag of besting a 'lesser' enemy than you did.

If the songs were just propaganda, why would they change a King to a Lord? And the wildling tradition wouldn't just INVENT a LORD of WINTERFELL, when all they'd known for the past few thousand years are STARK KINGS!

9 hours ago, Lord Varys said:

If Bael lived during the Targaryen era, TWoIaF would have conquered the war against him in considerable detail - both in the Targaryen section as well as the North section.

And there is no way that a huge scandal as stories about the mysterious grandson of Lord Stark wouldn't have made the Starks the laughingstock of the Seven Kingdoms? A lord who has the king legitimize a wildling bastard as his grandson and heir? And then a Bolton skinning that guy?

Not a chance.

Was it really a full-blown war? Or just another raid the Starks stomped on? And if the Starks really would be made a laughingstock, then wouldn't that have been a good reason to keep a bit quiet about the whole affair? As I said above, the bastard and the skinning are only found in the wildling songs - they could well be lies, after all that's what Jon told Ygritte.

The stories vary either side of the Wall, well, big deal. Not like we've never had conflicting accounts before.

But the fact that the songs talk about a Lord, says that the songs at least are post-Conquest. If Bael was the Bard who wrote those (or most of those) songs, then that places Bael post-Conquest too.

 

28 minutes ago, The Wondering Wolf said:

Just being curious: If Fire and Blood does not mention Bael, will you accept then that he did not live post-Conquest? 

If the evidence changes, then I change my mind :thumbsup:

But another source that doesn't mention Bael doesn't actually add to our evidence, does it? If it doesn't mention Raymun Redbeard either, are we then to assume he was pre-Conquest, too?

No mention is not sufficient, but if there were a mention of 'kings beyond the wall, such as Bael, who attacked the Seven Kingdoms before the Realm was unified' or whatever, well, then THAT would be evidence.

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14 minutes ago, Rufus Snow said:

Ygritte makes it pretty clear her source for the Bael story are the songs allegedly written by Bael himself. If Bael had crossed the Wall and deflowered a Stark princess rather than a 'Stark maiden' he could have written a much prettier song for himself.

The wildlings don't have a culture based on writings. Their songs would be handed down orally. Bael would have composed a song, but he would have not written it as such.

14 minutes ago, Rufus Snow said:

If the songs were just propaganda, why would they change a King to a Lord? And the wildling tradition wouldn't just INVENT a LORD of WINTERFELL, when all they'd known for the past few thousand years are STARK KINGS!

 

The idea is that those songs would be memorized and changed through the ages to keep them in line with the facts the contemporaries knew. I've no doubt that songs about Bael the Bard sung five hundred years ago would talk about the King in the North or the King of Winter rather than the Lord of Winterfell. But the Starks have been merely the Lords of Winterfell for about 300 years by the time Ygritte tells her version of the story to Jon.

A story about an ancient wildling king literally fucking the Starks doesn't need for focus in depth of the political situation of the enemy and how they have since changed. It is a piece of entertainment not of historical fact.

At least in the details - like the lord thing or the Kingsroad thing. If it were nonsense in all the other aspects then Bael may have no existed at all. Or at least may have never been at Winterfell, personally.

14 minutes ago, Rufus Snow said:

Was it really a full-blown war? Or just another raid the Starks stomped on? And if the Starks really would be made a laughingstock, then wouldn't that have been a good reason to keep a bit quiet about the whole affair? As I said above, the bastard and the skinning are only found in the wildling songs - they could well be lies, after all that's what Jon told Ygritte.

Again, then the story would be meaningless. The idea that a Lord of Winterfell could keep the fact under the rug that his daughter had a fatherless bastard who he then later his heir to succeed him as Lord of Winterfell is pretty much insane. King Jaehaerys I would have to be the one legitimizing this child as a Stark, or else it would not have had the right to become Lord of Winterfell. Only kings do legitimize bastards.

Vice versa, a Stark king could have done all that himself. He could force his bannermen to bow to this bastard (or at least try, the Boltons seem to have take care of the false Starks from Bael's line).

The idea that the wildlings would invent a story about some Northern lord flaying the Lord of Winterfell also doesn't sit well with me - the Boltons didn't do that kind of thing since long before the Conquest. Does it make sense the wildlings remember that kind of thing? I don't think so.

14 minutes ago, Rufus Snow said:

The stories vary either side of the Wall, well, big deal. Not like we've never had conflicting accounts before.

The accounts from all the Realm would touch upon that story if it had happened under the Targaryens. We are talking about a united Realm here, not seven independent kingdoms.

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Lord Varys and I are in full agreement on this issue. (And no LV, the world is not going to end as a result:D.)

There was obviously always some kind of trail leading from Winterfell to the Wall. Ygritte simply does not have the education to realise it has only been called the Kingsroad for 300 years. To her it is just the Kingsroad since before she was born.

And secondly, she is not an authority on the nuances of calling the ruling Stark a lord vs a king.

The lineages of the great Houses, and of the Starks in particular in this case, are known in relative detail for the last 300 years. There is simply no way a wildling invasion culminating in the death of the Stark in Winterfell could remain unrecorded in the last 300 years. And even more so with a Bolton revolt thrown into the mix.

Nope.

We know from other sources that the last Bolton revolt and Stark skinning happened about 1000 years ago. Which seems a good marker for the wildling invasion coinciding with Bael’s reign as King Beyond the Wall.

So a likely (very rough) timeline:

7000+ years ago - Joramun

3000 years ago - Gendel and Gorne

1500 years ago - The Horned Lord

1000 years ago - Bael the Bard.

That’s if he ever existed.

And if he existed, he might have been nothing like the tale, and never gotten close to Lord Stark’s daughter.

Edited by Free Northman Reborn

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