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Jon and Bran - a Shared Dream, Direwolves and More

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Jon and Bran - A Shared Dream, Direwolves and More

Part One

I'm starting this as a sort of companion thread to one by @Clegane'sPup, “Meanwhile Back At The Wall “ (lots of good discussion, lots of sub-topics, this being one). Since I found I had so much to say on this topic (as I sometimes do) I thought it better to start a separate thread rather than take that one into a really big rabbit hole.

(Welcome one and all ... and I'm also flagging a few likely suspects I've enjoyed discussion with in the past - @The Fattest Leech , @kissdbyfire, @Julia H. , @Curled Finger , @Seams , @Ygrain- to name but a few, just off the top of my head.

I've thought long and hard about Jon and Bran connecting in Jon's dream in ACoK, JonVII. Like some other posters, I originally suspected that this was Jon's first true wolf dream (or the first we know of). Now, I'm much less sure of that than I was... As with other GRRM puzzles, what makes it so difficult to wrap one's head around it is that the clues to understanding are scattered hither and yon, and it's hard to find where to make a start.

Some time ago,I had engaged in a discussion of this in the “Bran's Growing Powers” thread in the Re-read section, posting as my thoughts unfolded - but that only took me part way to where I stand now. I've found that I had to compare at least 3 main dreams to begin to get a handle on it – Bran's in ACoK, Bran VII ... Jon's in ACoK, Jon VII ... and ADWD, Jon II. - as well as other scattered information.

As we go through, here are a few known (or accepted) points to keep to one side that I'll refer back to:

  • Second life .. Varamyr re: Orell in the eagle, and info in his own prologue.
  • Bran senses the woman of the cotf inside the raven

  • Ghost's occasional odd inattentiveness or going against Jon's wishes

  • Boodraven can and does influence dreams

  • Bloodraven is skinchanging Mormont's raven

  • Bran sees a number of other cotf greenseers who are not completely absorbed into the trees are still at least semi-awake in their surroundings and one or more (?) seem to want to communicate

I'll try to be orderly, now. (I'm hiding some of the longer quotes to save space.) First, here's the lead-in to Jon's ACoK dream -  Qhorin calls for a rest at the highest point of the pass...

Qhorin decreed that they would rest here until the shadows began to grow again. “Shadows are friends to men in black,” he said. ... Must be around noon-ish.

Then, after some conversation with Jon, Qhorin says......

Quote

 

“.... You ought be sleeping. We have leagues to go, and dangers to face. You will need your strength.”

Jon did not think sleep would come easily, but he knew the Halfhand was right. He found a place out of the wind, beneath an overhang of rock, and took off his cloak to use it for a blanket. “Ghost,” he called. “Here. To me.” He always slept better with the great white wolf beside him; there was comfort in the smell of him, and welcome warmth in that shaggy pale fur. This time, though, Ghost did no more than look at him. Then he turned away and padded around the garrons, and quick as that he was gone. He wants to hunt, Jon thought. Perhaps there were goats in these mountains. The shadowcats must live on something. “Just don’t try and bring down a ’cat,” he muttered. Even for a direwolf, that would be dangerous. He tugged his cloak over him and stretched out beneath the rock.

When he closed his eyes, he dreamed of direwolves.

 

I think time is an important factor here, not only on the larger scale of Jon's and Bran's timelines, but on the smaller scale of time elapsed between Ghost leaving and Jon finding him afterwards. I'm supposing that Jon is right and sleep does not come easily. He and Qhorin had just been discussing Mance Rayder and the fact that Jon had not killed Ygritte, etc. ...  Jon would have had a lot running through his mind, so a fair amount of time could have elapsed between “stretching out beneath the rock” and “when he closed his eyes”. I'd say a half hour would be a safe median guess. Then, he would not have “dreamed of direwolves” right away. Normally, he wouldn't hit his first REM pattern until at least an hour and a half later..... (More about time as we go on)

Now I want to go to the first part of the dream (up until the touch)

Spoiler

 

When he closed his eyes, he dreamed of direwolves.

There were five of them when there should have been six, and they were scattered, each apart from the others. He felt a deep ache of emptiness, a sense of incompleteness. The forest was vast and cold, and they were so small, so lost. His brothers were out there somewhere, and his sister, but he had lost their scent. He sat on his haunches and lifted his head to the darkening sky, and his cry echoed through the forest, a long lonely mournful sound. As it died away, he pricked up his ears, listening for an answer, but the only sound was the sigh of blowing snow.

Jon?

The call came from behind him, softer than a whisper, but strong too. Can a shout be silent? He turned his head, searching for his brother, for a glimpse of a lean grey shape moving beneath the trees, but there was nothing, only …

A weirwood.

It seemed to sprout from solid rock, its pale roots twisting up from a myriad of fissures and hairline cracks. The tree was slender compared to other weirwoods he had seen, no more than a sapling, yet it was growing as he watched, its limbs thickening as they reached for the sky. Wary, he circled the smooth white trunk until he came to the face. Red eyes looked at him. Fierce eyes they were, yet glad to see him. The weirwood had his brother’s face. Had his brother always had three eyes?

Not always, came the silent shout. Not before the crow.

He sniffed at the bark, smelled wolf and tree and boy, but behind that there were other scents, the rich brown smell of warm earth and the hard grey smell of stone and something else, something terrible. Death, he knew. He was smelling death. He cringed back, his hair bristling, and bared his fangs.

Don’t be afraid, I like it in the dark. No one can see you, but you can see them. But first you have to open your eyes. See? Like this. And the tree reached down and touched him.

 

OK, I don't think Jon is actually in Ghost at this stage, because “he dreamed of direwolves” is kind of generic - not to mention plural. Anyone might dream of something.. And even though he identifies with the wolf and (partially, at least) as the wolf, he understands everything in human terms. There's quite a difference between the way language is used in this dream compared to other (genuine) wolf dreams.

Jon himself knows many of the details in the first paragraph. He learns in AGOT, Jon VII that Lady is dead and Nymeria is lost ... The wolf had lost it's siblings' scent. At this point, scent is the only way Jon knows of animals keeping track of each other. He's as yet shown no belief in any deeper sense of connection that might give at least a general sense of each other's existence... Jon should not yet think that Summer and Shaggy are apart from each other (and if Bran is still in the crypts, they're still together).

My first thoughts, some time back, were - Jon still feels his own separation from each of his siblings keenly. Deep down, he probably feels “ a deep ache of emptiness, a sense of incompleteness”.... and the dream wolf reacts to this feeling the way anyone might think a wolf would – by giving a “long lonely mourneful” howl.

I wouldn't bet that Ghost can't make any sound, but I don't think Ghost is howling at this particular moment.

One clue to this is the dream's location in the vast, cold forest,(mentioned twice) and blowing snow. It wasn't snowing when Jon lay down. They are in the high mountains and we are expressly told, earlier in the chapter, that they are above the treeline.... But there is snow on the ground and that can be blown up by wind and can make a sound when it hits something else - say, the rock that Jon is lying under. External sounds can easily make their way into a person's dream.

We know that Ghost doesn't take off back toward the forest (he couldn't have done it in the elapsed time).

So, at first I thought that this very first section of the dream is just a normal Jon dream, wherein he's projecting his own feelings onto his dream vision of Ghost.

That is, until... Jon? ... when someone else enters Jon's dream.

(Now, I see another way of looking at that section which I'll come to in a bit.)

I know a lot of people think the dream is the result of Bran reaching out, but I think it's Bloodraven. Or rather, either it's purely Bloodraven, or the voice is Bran, but Bran reacting to being sent a dream of Jon. ... Jon continues with his dream, still sees himself as dream “Ghost”, but ... he continues to think like Jon. ...Can a shout be silent? ... Had his brother always had three eyes? ...

During his time in the crypts, Bran didn't have the ability to influence dreams. Even visually in Jon's dream, Bran is seen symbolically, as a weirwood sapling, visibly growing. If Bran was reaching out from the cotf cave, he would have to be reaching back months in time - and BR and the cotf warn him against trying to change things in the past. I don't say that no greenseer would ever risk it, say, in very, very extreme need, if there was absolutely no other solution (never say never, right?) ... but I don't think this is such a case.

If Bran was sending the dream back in time, I can see no reason to share it, or any part of it with his younger self.

From AcoK Bran VII...

Here in the chill damp darkness of the tomb his third eye had finally opened. He could reach Summer whenever he wanted, and once he had even touched Ghost and talked to Jon. Though maybe he had only dreamed that.

“Though maybe he had only dreamed that” is the truth of it, I think.

For Bloodraven, it's a different story. He would not be reaching into the past. He'd be reaching both boys in more or less real time and projecting to them symbolically, a situation from the future (of course, a possible future) serving two purposes at once.. For both boys, the message is to not be afraid... Jon is less likely to be shocked awake or put off by the appearance of Bran than some unrelated visual (e.g. 3 eyed crow). The main purpose in Jon's case becomes clear in the next part of his dream ... For Bran, the dream plants a little seed of reassurance for what is to come (assuming that the visuals are the same in his dream) ... “I like it in the dark. No one can see you, but you can see them”.... might appeal to any 8 yr old (?) boy.

Tree Bran seems pretty chirpy , considering what Bran is experiencing in the crypts. Although Bran had always felt comfortable in the crypts, he's not so comfortable there at that moment. They're all in fear of being discovered the whole time, they only dare speak in whispers, and in that dark, Bran can't even see his companions. Here's his transition from dreaming in Summer to waking...

Spoiler

 

The dark place was pulling at him by then, the house of whispers where all men were blind. He could feel its cold fingers on him. The stony smell of it was a whisper up the nose. He struggled against the pull. He did not like the darkness. He was wolf. He was hunter and stalker and slayer, and he belonged with his brothers and sisters in the deep woods, running free beneath a starry sky. He sat on his haunches, raised his head, and howled. I will not go, he cried. I am wolf, I will not go. Yet even so the darkness thickened, until it covered his eyes and filled his nose and stopped his ears, so he could not see or smell or hear or run, and the grey cliffs were gone and the dead horse was gone and his brother was gone and all was black and still and black and cold and black and dead and black . . .

"Bran," a voice was whispering softly. "Bran, come back. Come back now, Bran. Bran . . ."

He closed his third eye and opened the other two, the old two,the blind two. In the dark place all men were blind.

 

Yes, he's comforted by Meera holding him, but he's just seen the death, devastation and chaos in Winterfell above through Summer. Summer was no more perky at that moment than Bran ... and Summer does not like the dark place.

Now looking back to Jon's dream and “Ghost” howling, I see something different ... He turned his head, searching for his brother, for a glimpse of a lean grey shape moving beneath the trees, but there was nothing, only … All things considered, I think this wolf is Summer.. It's clear that Summer is feeling the “ deep ache of emptiness, a sense of incompleteness” described in Jon's dream .... because in Bran's dream, “he belonged with his brothers and sisters in the deep woods, running free” ... Bran knows Ghost is with Jon at the wall, but doesn't have a precise sense of where Robb and Grey Wind are. Shaggy is with Summer.

In Jon's dream, the wolf looking for his brother (singular), is looking specifically for a grey shape between the trees. That can only describe Summer looking for Grey Wind, in my view. Jon was very close to Robb because they grew up together for 14 yrs., but Ghost spent about the same amount of time with all of his siblings, and Ghost has 2 grey brothers and one black one.. Why wouldn't he be looking for brothers (plural) grey or black?

The scents of the two possible locations for Bran don't agree, either. For Summer, the crypts have “a stony smell” while dream “Ghost” smells... wolf and tree and boy ... the rich brown smell of warm earth and the hard grey smell of stone and something else, something terrible. Death, he knew. He was smelling death. ''

Overall, the scents in Jon's dream agree much better with the cotf cave (or with what Summer can smell in Winterfell above ground, combined with what Bran can smell in the dark crypts.)

I have to think that if BR can project or relay complicated symbolic images and words (even as silent shouts) why not scents as well? I'll have more to say about direwolf senses later.

Lastly, for this section ...

Wary, he circled the smooth white trunk until he came to the face. Red eyes looked at him. Fierce eyes they were, yet glad to see him.... I don't think we can call Bran fierce yet (though he may become so)..Summer can be - Bran, not so much. ... Not even all carved weirwoods have fierce eyes. But Bloodraven can be fierce, as we know. So, if the eyes reflect the sender at all, I think that would point to BR more than Bran. Both would be glad to see Jon. Bran, for obvious familial reasons. Bloodraven, because Jon is no less a part of his plans than Bran is (and maybe for some distant familial reasons as well as the obvious one - see part three) and there are things, in that moment, that Jon needs to be made aware of.

I'll stop here for Part One. .

 

Part Two

Here's the second section of Jon's dream (ACoK, Jon VII)

Spoiler

And the tree reached down and touched him. And suddenly he was back in the mountains, his paws sunk deep in a drift of snow as he stood upon the edge of a great precipice. Before him the Skirling Pass opened up into airy emptiness, and a long vee-shaped valley lay spread beneath him like a quilt, awash in all the colors of an autumn afternoon. A vast blue-white wall plugged one end of the vale, squeezing between the mountains as if it had shouldered them aside, and for a moment he thought he had dreamed himself back to Castle Black. Then he realized he was looking at a river of ice several thousand feet high. Under that glittering cold cliff was a great lake, its deep cobalt waters reflecting the snowcapped peaks that ringed it. There were men down in the valley, he saw now; many men, thousands, a huge host. Some were tearing great holes in the half-frozen ground, while others trained for war. He watched as a swarming mass of riders charged a shield wall, astride horses no larger than ants. The sound of their mock battle was a rustling of steel leaves, drifting faintly on the wind. Their encampment had no plan to it; he saw no ditches, no sharpened stakes, no neat rows of horse lines. Everywhere crude earthen shelters and hide tents sprouted haphazardly, like a pox on the face of the earth. He spied untidy mounds of hay, smelled goats and sheep, horses and pigs, dogs in great profusion. Tendrils of dark smoke rose from a thousand cookfires.

This is no army, no more than it is a town. This is a whole people come together. Across the long lake, one of the mounds moved. He watched it more closely and saw that it was not dirt at all, but alive, a shaggy lumbering beast with a snake for a nose and tusks larger than those of the greatest boar that had ever lived. And the thing riding it was huge as well, and his shape was wrong, too thick in the leg and hips to be a man. Then a sudden gust of cold made his fur stand up, and the air thrilled to the sound of wings. As he lifted his eyes to the ice-white mountain heights above, a shadow plummeted out of the sky. A shrill scream split the air. He glimpsed blue-grey pinions spread wide, shutting out the sun …

“Ghost!” Jon shouted, sitting up. He could still feel the talons, the pain. “Ghost, to me!” Ebben appeared, grabbed him, shook him. “Quiet! You mean to bring the wildlings down on us? What’s wrong with you, boy?” “A dream,” said Jon feebly. “I was Ghost, I was on the edge of the mountain looking down on a frozen river, and something attacked me. A bird … an eagle, I think …”

Here, it seems at first like Jon has transitioned to a true wolf dream, but I still find problems. Jon still sees and understands what he sees in human terms. Even when confronted with two things Jon has never seen before (giants and mammoths) and which he thought no longer existed, he understands them in a very human way, not in a wolfish way. When describing his dream to Ebben and Qhorin immediately afterward, he knows he has seen giants and mammoths. He either names them or describes them in a way to make it clear what they are.

He doesn't just see “many men”, or a “man-pack”, but “thousands, a huge host”, “a whole people come together”. Not only does he understand wahat he sees but notes things that are missing that should be part of an army camp (ditches, horse lines). He recognises weaponry, tactical exercises, etc. in human terms, very different from the “man-claws” and “hardskin” of Bran's wolfdream. 

To compare :

Yet as one smell drew them onward, others warned them back. He sniffed at the drifting smoke. Men, many men, many horses, and fire, fire, fire. No smell was more dangerous, not even the hard cold smell of iron, the stuff of man-claws and hardskin.

...<snip>...

Howls shuddered through the night; the howls of the man-pack, wails of fear and wild shouts, laughter and screams. No beast was as noisy as man. ... ACOK, Bran VII

This second part of Jon's dream appears to happen in real time but on reflection, I'm not at all sure that it can.

After waking, Jon recounts the dream to Ebben, then Ebben gets Qhorin. Qhorin gets Jon to repeat the dream again, saying ...

“Craster told the Lord Commander that the wildlings were gathering at the source of the Milkwater. That may be why you dreamed it. Or it may be that you saw what waits for us, a few hours farther on. Tell me.”

A few hours farther on... How many is a few? This is quite imprecise as an estimate.

GRRM has fairly littered this chapter with clues to the passage of time, but clues of such varied types, it makes them difficult to put together. Of course, I see this as intentional and the very fact that he's gone to such trouble makes me think ...”Ma, he's doing it again!”

Jon and Qhorin give us a couple of estimates in hours. Then we have, length or location of shadows ... the sun sinking fast.. the sun setting.. twilight setting in .. and so on. Setting out after the dream, Jon & co. are moving over terrain that makes slow going for men on horses ... but it wouldn't have been nearly such slow going for Ghost, hours earlier.

Spoiler

 

Ghost did not reappear as they set out again. The shadows covered the floor of the pass by then, and the sun was sinking fast toward the jagged twin peaks of the huge mountain the rangers named Forktop.

...<snip> (as they ride Jon thinks about his dream and wonders if it's true)...

The last ray of sun vanished behind the peaks of Forktop. Twilight filled the Skirling Pass. It seemed to grow colder almost at once. They were no longer climbing. In fact, the ground had begun to descend, though as yet not sharply. It was littered with cracks and broken boulders and tumbled heaps of rock. It will be dark soon, and still no sight of Ghost.

...<snip> (they notice the eagle watching and pause to discuss and consider whether to try to shoot it..)

Qhorin sat in his saddle, studying the eagle for a long time. “We press on,” he finally said. The rangers resumed their descent.

Ghost, Jon wanted to shout, where are you? He was about to follow Qhorin and the others when he glimpsed a flash of white between two boulders. A patch of old snow, he thought, until he saw it stir. He was off his horse at once. As he went to his knees, Ghost lifted his head. His neck glistened wetly, but he made no sound when Jon peeled off a glove and touched him.

...<snip>....

Together they washed the caked blood from the direwolf’s fur. ...(Jon and Qhorin)

...<snip>...

By the time they’d ripped a strip from Jon’s cloak to wrap the wounds, full dark had settled. Only a dusting of stars set the black of sky apart from the black of stone. “Do we press on?” Stonesnake wanted to know. Qhorin went to his garron. “Back, not on.”

 

While Qhorin's “a few hours farther on” is only vaguely correct, Jon's estimate of having slept 4-5 hrs. Seems pretty accurate to me; at 90 min. per cycle, 4 1/2 hours after actually falling asleep would put Jon at the end of his third REM cycle.

But Ghost left before Jon fell asleep (allowing 1/2 hr to fall asleep? + 4 1/2 hrs = 5 hrs). ... I'm not sure that it would have taken Ghost 5 hours to reach the precipice. In fact, the scene below him, “awash in all the colours of an Autumn afternoon”, reads like mid-afternoon to me. (say, 3:00- 3:30 if he left at noon) Jon notices many details of the camp, but no long shadows encroaching on the floor of the valley.

In order for this part of Jon's dream to be a true wolf dream, the eagle's attack has to happen as Jon is dreaming it. What makes me so uncertain is that after being attacked, Ghost – now wounded and no doubt trying to take evasive measures – must surely be travelling more slowly than before, yet he makes it quite far back toward Jon before laying up between the two boulders. ... How far? We don't know. We only have references to time, Jon's observations and our puzzlers to judge by.

OK then, how long does it take for the sun to go from sinking fast, to the last ray disappearing and twilight setting in? An hour? More? I don't think it could be as much as two. I'd put it closer to one. ...We could get quite far into the weeds here, with our 3 phases of twilight (civil, nautical, astronomical) but I think we have to generalize because of the many variables. We make a very rounded average of 30 min.each phase (using Greenwich, I think... or maybe that's for my location - 49th parallel)... phases last longer the farther north you go (and depend upon the season)... but develop much more quickly in the mountains, where peaks cut off the sun's rays... It's probably best to simply judge 90 min. (max) between “twilight filled the Skirling pass” and dark.

So if it took Qhorin's group, say, a half hour to listen to Jon's dream and saddle up, then roughly another hour until sunset, there's only 1 1/2 hrs (or a bit less)of twilight following, during which ... they notice the eagle, Qhorin pauses, watching the eagle, they decide to ride on , find Ghost and deal with his wounds. ... And since the eagle and Ghost were found in place as twilight was falling, we have to subtract that time from Ghost's journey back. It appears that Ghost and Jon could not have been in sync at the time of the attack.

It seems to me that Ghost had to be on the precipice about an hour before Jon dreamt it (judging by the quality of light). In that case, I have to think the experience was relayed to Jon by Bloodraven, who had to wait for Jon to be in an appropriate sleep pattern to send it. (He can enter and influence dreams, but can't affect when a person decides to sleep, or enters REM sleep, that's up to the person and the workings of their body) Bloodraven would not be going back in time, but forward , and in any case, it would be such a slight adjustment, it would be unlikely to cause problems. ... This would also explain Jon's ability to see, understand and describe the dream wholly as a human, even in thought, while it was happening.

...I'm forgetting one last clue suggesting the attack occurred earlier. Although Ghost's wounds are gaping and apparently still seeping blood - “his neck glistened wetly” - they had to wash “caked blood” from his fur. To me, this implies a hardened stage - dried as well as congealed.

(And gives me flashbacks to many a Lttle Walder discussion – nevermind.)

After all this , I still think there's one more important element in play which I'll get into in Part Three, where I think it becomes more obvious, before I tie them together.

 

Part Three

In the process of trying to reconstruct the posts I've made on this and related topics (on various threads) my opinion has changed, over time, on certain key facets, although not overall. New insights seemed to develop every time I dug in .. either as a result of community discussion, or just by taking a fresh look. For a long time ,I've thought that Bloodraven had a hand in these dreams and perhaps another party – other than Bran. That hasn't changed, but my interpretation of some of the details has shifted, or come into clearer focus, even just now. ( e.g. - the first part of Jon's ACOK dream.)

This brings me to Jon's dream in Jon I, ADWD, which I think also sheds light on the shared dream(s). Trying to understand this dream brought me “Aha!” moments relating to the shared dream(s) and the questions around the direwolf mama and more. Here it is, for reference...

Spoiler

 

The white wolf raced through a black wood, beneath a pale cliff as tall as the sky. The moon ran with him, slipping through a tangle of bare branches overhead, across the starry sky.

“Snow,” the moon murmured.

The wolf made no answer. Snow crunched beneath his paws. The wind sighed through the trees. Far off, he could hear his packmates calling to him, like to like. They were hunting too. A wild rain lashed down upon his black brother as he tore at the flesh of an enormous goat, washing the blood from his side where the goat’s long horn had raked him. In another place, his little sister lifted her head to sing to the moon, and a hundred small grey cousins broke off their hunt to sing with her. The hills were warmer where they were, and full of food. Many a night his sister’s pack gorged on the flesh of sheep and cows and horses, the prey of men, and sometimes even on the flesh of man himself.

“Snow,” the moon called down again, cackling.

The white wolf padded along the man trail beneath the icy cliff. The taste of blood was on his tongue, and his ears rang to the song of the hundred cousins. Once they had been six, five whimpering blind in the snow beside their dead mother, sucking cool milk from her hard dead nipples whilst he crawled off alone. Four remained … and one the white wolf could no longer sense.

“Snow,” the moon insisted.

The white wolf ran from it, racing toward the cave of night where the sun had hidden, his breath frosting in the air. On starless nights the great cliff was as black as stone, a darkness towering high above the wide world, but when the moon came out it shimmered pale and icy as a frozen stream. The wolf’s pelt was thick and shaggy, but when the wind blew along the ice no fur could keep the chill out. On the other side the wind was colder still, the wolf sensed. That was where his brother was, the grey brother who smelled of summer.

“Snow.” An icicle tumbled from a branch. The white wolf turned and bared his teeth. “Snow!” His fur rose bristling, as the woods dissolved around him. “Snow, snow, snow!” He heard the beat of wings. Through the gloom a raven flew.

It landed on Jon Snow’s chest with a thump and a scrabbling of claws. “SNOW!” it screamed into his face.

 

 

 This is the first true wolf dream we've seen from Jon. By his thoughts a bit later in the chapter, we know he has had others, and that they're getting stronger, but we haven't seen them. This one stands out from his earlier dream in that there is ”wolf-speak” or “wolf-thought” present, but this time, it's unquestionably coming from Ghost.... The wall is “a pale cliff as tall as the sky“ and “the great cliff“. ... He pads along a “man trail”... races toward “the cave of night where the sun had hidden”.

Unlike the wolf in the beginning of his ACOK dream , Ghost doesn't have to search for the lost scent of his siblings, he can sense them. Not only can he sense them, he hears them and sees them. Sees the landscape they are in and exactly what Shaggy and Nymeria are doing.(Leave Summer aside for a moment.) Unlike Ghost physically observing Mance's host in Jon's earlier dream (relayed or not), this time, Ghost is not physically observing his siblings. ... This has got to be very unusual. ... Even more unusual - in the case of Nymeria, he knows, without actually seeing ...

Many a night his sister’s pack gorged on the flesh of sheep and cows and horses, the prey of men, and sometimes even on the flesh of man himself.

How the heck does he know this? What he actually sees/ hears in the dream is Nymeria and her pack howling.

“Once they had been six, five whimpering blind in the snow beside their dead mother, sucking cool milk from her hard dead nipples whilst he crawled off alone. .... How does he remember this scene in detail - his siblings' and his own actions, when he was only a newborn pup?

Four remained … and one the white wolf could no longer sense.” ...

Jon has known of Lady's and Nymeria's fates since AGOT . Here are his thoughts after Mormont reads him the letter from Pycelle declaring Ned a traitor and giving the Lannister version of events. He's feeling numb, unfocused, but comforted by Ghost's presence...

The girls do not even have that much, he thought. Their wolves might have kept them safe, but Lady is dead and Nymeria's lost, they're all alone. ... AGOT, Jon VII

It's doubtful Jon could have explained the news to Ghost in words. ... The four out of six pups remaining, must include himself , because later in the chapter Jon tells us...

Quote

The wolf dreams had been growing stronger, and he found himself remembering them even when awake. Ghost knows that Grey Wind is dead. Robb had died at the Twins, betrayed by men he'd believed his friends, and his wolf had perished with him. Bran and Rickon had been murdered too, beheaded at the behest of Theon Greyjoy, who had once been their lord father's ward … but if dreams did not lie, their direwolves had escaped. At Queenscrown, one had come out of the darkness to save Jon's life. Summer, it had to be. His fur was grey, and Shaggydog is black. He wondered if some part of his dead brothers lived on inside their wolves. ... Jon I, ADWD

If Ghost knows about Grey Wind, he knows about Lady, so, “and one the white wolf could no longer sense.” - has to refer to Summer. ...(I suspect that awareness of Summer is being blocked, or at least discouraged.)

Next, Ghost is “racing toward the cave of night where the sun had hidden,”. Maybe he's just running westward on the south side of the wall , to where the sun had set, but I can't see the point of including that, if that's all it is.... I think that GRRM is playing the homonym game - sun /son - as he has in other places, and that Ghost is actually now getting a first vague sense of where Summer is at the cave (dark as night) where Bran, a Stark son, had hidden. ... Breath frosting, Ghost feels the chill of the wind blowing along the wall, and the realization dawns on him ... On the other side the wind was colder still, the wolf sensed. That was where his brother was, the grey brother who smelled of summer. ... We can see that his awareness of Summer's circumstances is increasing as the dream progresses.

The moon, aka Mormont's raven / Bloodraven keeps breaking into the dream, trying to wake Jon, becoming more and more insistent with each new revelation, until Jon finally wakes to the raven (getting frantic as Ghost zeros in on Summer) screaming, “Snow, snow, snow “, landing on his chest, adding one last “SNOW!” right in his face.

Back in ACOK, Jojen knew it was urgent for Bran to wake up for his own well-being and here, Bloodraven feels it's urgent for Jon to wake up for not only his, but everyone's well-being - assuming that Bloodraven's plan for Bran, Jon and the defense against the others is ultimately for the good of all. (I do). ... Bran's and Rickon's survival is still being kept from Jon, for sound reasons.

If direwolves normally could have such a detailed awareness of their far off siblings, the dream wolf I earlier identified as Summer would not have felt the scattering of his siblings and loss of their scent so keenly. So what's going on with Ghost?

Since Ghost is not where he could observe Shaggy and Nymeria, the only way all that information could seep into Jon's dream is via the weirnet, somehow. ... Bloodraven could inject the detailed visions into Jon's dream, but I can't think that, because it's Bloodraven / Mormont's raven simultaneously trying to wake Jon.

Bran could be responsible, but again, he would have to be reaching back in time, though not as far as if he had influenced Jon's ACOK dream.  Here, Jon has just been elected. When you think of all the important decisions he will have to make in the coming weeks / months, the risk of causing plans to seriously gang agley (or just of creating anomalies) would be much greater.

Bran knew the importance of keeping his survival a secret from Jon when he passed the Black Gate; surely the more time he spends with Bloodraven and the children, and the more he's learning about what's going on with Jon, his other siblings and the situation at large, the less likely he is to want to reveal such things to Jon at this juncture. ... So, I don't think Bran is the source - unless he's doing it inadvertently, in which case, I'm not sure he would resist the attempts to wake Jon so strongly. (Ghost's resistance is pretty strong – trying to run away, baring his teeth, his hair bristling, etc.) ... Bran would be aware immediately that BR was trying to correct him, and stop sending / being so open.

It could simply be Jon resisting, as Bran resisted waking when he was in the crypts, and I'm going to come back to that ... but first I need to take us on some relevant side trips.

1. Varamyr : All through Jon's ASOS chapters we get the set up and revelation of “the second life” through repeated references to Orell. Some are just inconsequential name checks, but when the eagle attacks Jon (ASOS, Jon II), Ygritte makes the ID point blank, “ ... Look what Orell did t' his sweet face." and later in the chapter, "Orell tried to take his eye out." ... and Varamyr elaborates in Jon X...

Quote

"Once a beast's been joined to a man, any skinchanger can slip inside and ride him. Orell was withering inside his feathers, so I took the eagle for my own. But the joining works both ways, warg. Orell lives inside me now, whispering how much he hates you. And I can soar above the Wall, and see with eagle eyes."

Next, in ADWD we get Varamyr's prologue with all its detail about skinchanging and the second life, and his certainty that he could have taken Ghost ... "Mance should have let me take the direwolf. There would be a second life worthy of a king. He could have done it, he did not doubt."    ... This is important information, though I think not for the reasons that are often assumed.

(I know many people think that it foretells Jon's immediate future after the events of ADWD, Jon XIII, but I disagree, because after a minute deconstruction of the scene, I believe Jon is not dead and probably not even wounded so badly as to be kept out of the action for very long, at all.)

I've always thought that Varamyr was deluding himself about his ability to take Ghost. He's extremely rapacious with people and animals alike and obsessed with flaunting the power of his gift. Not satisfied with one, he had 3 wolves (briefly,4) ... he had a shadowcat and a snowbear, two top predators. .. why had he not claimed a direwolf already, if it's an animal worthy of a king? (Many see this as a hint to Jon's eventual status and I agree, but also think it hints at more than that.)

Direwolves seem to generally avoid men. Benjen spent a lot of time beyond the wall. He tells Jon in AGOT, "There are still direwolves beyond the Wall. We hear them on our rangings." ...but apparently, he hasn't seen one. Through Varamyr, we know that among skinchangers, the wolf-brothers are the most numerous – however, neither he nor Haggon mention anyone skinchanging a direwolf. In fact, we only know of direwolves bonding with Starks - Starks were the Kings of Winter.

Even in TWOIAF, The North: the Kings of Winter , when we read ....the Starks brought down the Warg King and his inhuman allies, the children of the forest. When the Warg King's last redoubt fell, his sons were put to the sword, along with his beasts and greenseers, whilst his daughters were taken as prizes by their conquerors." ... I don't take this to be an explanation of how the Starks became wargs (through marrying the daughters of the warg king). ... They brought down the warg king and his inhuman allies, but those were obviously not all the cotf ... his sons, his beasts and (his) greenseers were put to the sword ... his greenseers would not be all the greenseers, either ... just those who were allied with him.... I strongly suspect the Starks were already direwolf wargs and had their own cotf and greenseer allies , if we can judge by the current cotf attitude to Starks. And this would show us that there can be differing opinions among cotf and greenseers.

1. Bloodraven, Bran and Direwolves : .... Here are some excerpts from ADWD, Bran III.....

Quote

 

For men, time is a river. We are trapped in its flow, hurtling from past to present, always in the same direction. The lives of trees are different. They root and grow and die in one place, and that river does not move them. The oak is the acorn, the acorn is the oak. And the weirwood … a thousand human years are a moment to a weirwood, and through such gates you and I may gaze into the past."

...<snip>...

A weirwood will live forever if left undisturbed. To them seasons pass in the flutter of a moth's wing, and past, present, and future are one.

 

Bloodraven explains how time is experienced by greenseers and a little farther on in the chapter, he and Bran remind us about the second life...

Quote

 

"Someone else was in the raven," he told Lord Brynden, once he had returned to his own skin. "Some girl. I felt her."

"A woman, of those who sing the song of earth," his teacher said. "Long dead, yet a part of her remains, just as a part of you would remain in Summer if your boy's flesh were to die upon the morrow. A shadow on the soul. She will not harm you."

 

...and later still in Bran III ...

Quote

He even crossed the slender stone bridge that arched over the abyss and discovered more passages and chambers on the far side. One was full of singers, enthroned like Brynden in nests of weirwood roots that wove under and through and around their bodies. Most of them looked dead to him, but as he crossed in front of them their eyes would open and follow the light of his torch, and one of them opened and closed a wrinkled mouth as if he were trying to speak.

We don't know how, or if greenseers communicate conversationally (or telepathically) with each other inside the weirnet, but we see that a number of greenseers still have awareness outside of the trees, and one at least might still want to communicate verbally, implying that if he was spoken to by say, Leaf or one of the other singers, he would understand., and might be able to reply. He's part of the continuum / godhood, but still retains his individuality to some degree.

I think this informs the question of how the direwolf mama came to be where the pups could be found in AGOT. My earliest thoughts were – Bloodraven guided Mama south, then when she was killed (or sacrificed - much as I love Lord Brynden, he is ruthless), he could transfer to Ghost-pup, open his little eyes and crawl him away. ... I suppose those who are in the “Bran is doing everything” camp probably sub Bran in for Brynden (playing fast and loose with the timeline, again). ... But really, neither one works perfectly, because whoever it was would have to stay in Ghost, given the number of times he acts as if guided by something other than wolf instincts and contrary to Jon's wishes. ... So, I began to suspect the presence of another entity and when , on a re-read , Bran's discovery of the other greenseers leapt out at me, it occurred to me that one of them could be my mystery being. ... After all, it would hardly put him out to pass 3 yrs or so (so far) in Ghost ... seasons pass in the flutter of a moth's wing, and past, present, and future are one.”

But would this be compatible with my ideas about Starks and direwolves? ... I believe Bloodraven can do “quite a lot” (to quote one of his own understatements) ... but if my deepest gut feelings are right and direwolves do only bond with Starks, it's because ancient magic is involved. Wouldn't such magic prevent Bloodraven from bonding with the direwolf mama?... Well, maybe not ... We know Blackwood daughters married into House Stark ; why not the other way around? The Blackwood family tree going back to Brynden's birth and beyond has not been fully revealed. At the same time, there are a number of unattached Stark daughters a few generations back and we don't know if they died young, or stayed unmarried, or if their part of the family tree has simply not been developed yet. ... It can't be ruled out then, that Lord Brynden, like Jon, carries Stark blood. 

Of course, Bran would not be ruled out on a “Stark only” basis, but besides having to mess with time, his presence would represent a double bonding with Ghost. This would not be the same as “a shadow on the soul” (in a bad way) because Bran's still alive. I find the idea somewhat icky, frankly - not to mention probably confusing for Ghost when Jon eventually does skinchange, and it would be a possible recipe for contention developing between brothers. ... Since I can't think Bran should skinchange the direwolf mama, I think it must be Bloodraven, so I have to think we'll find Stark blood in his mother's lineage. ... (I earlier mentioned a possible familial interest in Jon , beyond the obvious Targ. one)

(Side note: we don't know what a direwolf lifespan is, roughly, or how long Brynden has actually been “wed to the tree” to the degree of being immobile, so we don't know how long ago he may have developed a bond with Mama.)

As for the cotf greenseer (I'll call him Greenseer X), here's how I think he fits in :

Bloodraven skinchanges the direwolf and because of his connection to the weirnet, Greenseer X can sort of piggyback in, past the magic (like Sam passing Gilly through the BlackGate), to be implanted in unborn Ghost. ...This way he can be present to guide Ghost from time to time, it's an excellent way of keeping tabs on Jon, and he would be no impediment to Jon and Ghost bonding.

To Ghost, this presence would be something that was always part of him, part of his instinct, his ability to sense – probably never identified as a separate being. Greenseer X would initially have to be not-yet-absorbed enough to co-operate in the plan as something of an individual. The possible fly in the ointment from Lord Brynden's perspective might be that Greenseer X may still have some opinions of his own.

This brings me back (at last) to Jon's dream.

I said earlier that Jon could be the source of resistance in the dream, and I do think that as with Bran, there must be a subconscious element of wanting to be with his wolf at work. I don't think that provides a full explanation, though. It's always seemed to me that there's a serious difference of opinion going on about whether it's appropriate for Jon to have the information. I must admit that there's another, I think lesser, possibility with Greenseer X – that it might be inattention on his part. The oak is the acorn, the acorn is the oak ... a thousand human years are a moment to a weirwood... - so it could be difficult for him to be aware of keeping to a human concept of time without occasional lapses ... and he's annoyed at being interrupted or corrected. (Can a greenseer be petulant?)

Now, going back to Jon's ACOK dream as promised - The idea of Greenseer X is the additional element I referred to and it explains just how Bloodraven could delay sending Ghost's view of Mance's host to Jon. What Ghost sees, smells, hears, feels - passes into the weirnet via the greenseer, where Bloodraven can access it perfectly and relay it to Jon at just the right time.

All of this adds a new layer of meaning to Jon's observation about Ghost back in ASOS, Jon XII...

“.... He had a weirwood's eyes. Red eyes, red mouth, white fur. Blood and bone, like a heart tree. He belongs to the old gods, this one. ...and strengthens the idea of Val as some sort of old gods' priestess when in ADWD, Jon XI ...Then Ghost emerged from between two trees, with Val beside him. They look as though they belong together.” ... a fraction , a component, a ghost of the old gods is literally a part of Ghost, not just an intermittent presence that would be the result of being skinchanged. I feel Ghost's only true skinchanger bonding will be with Jon.

Jon tells us that his wolf dreams are getting stronger and we can see his feeling of connection to the old gods and his intuitive sense of what would be sort of, doing right by the old gods getting stronger as the story progresses, particularly in ADWD. These seem to be connected.

Speculation going forward : There could be interesting implications for Jon in the future if this arrangement should be correct. While I think this is somewhat different from the usual skinchanger's second life (by virtue of simultaneously being part of the weirnet) there are still some similarities. Going back to Varamyr speaking to Jon in ASOS, Jon X ... Orell was withering inside his feathers, so I took the eagle for my own. But the joining works both ways, warg. Orell lives inside me now, whispering how much he hates you.... A hint of future symbiosis between Jon and the old gods, existing, waiting in Ghost ? .. Echoing the symbiosis I detect between Jon and the magic of the wall ? Surely at least a strong sense of Bran and his motives through the weirnet ?

I hope we find out in the next year...(please?)

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Lots and lots of interesting and juicy stuff here, @bemused! Lots to think about...

I will have to come back a bit later when I have more time, but wanted to throw this one bit out there...

Jon's dream in Dance where we see Ghost running towards "the cave of night where the sun had hidden" always makes me think of the Nightfort and the BG. 

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11 hours ago, bemused said:

Bloodraven could inject the detailed visions into Jon's dream

I think Bloodraven can only observe in dreams, I don't think he was ever powerful enough to send visions or actually communicate, and he taught Bran that Bran would have the same limitations, but Bran is much more powerful than Bloodraven is/was. 

Quote

Eddard Stark lifted his head and looked long at the weirwood, frowning, but he did not speak. He cannot see me, Bran realized, despairing. He wanted to reach out and touch him, but all that he could do was watch and listen. I am in the tree. I am inside the heart tree, looking out of its red eyes, but the weirwood cannot talk, so I can't.

 

"But," said Bran, "he heard me."
 
"He heard a whisper on the wind, a rustling amongst the leaves. You cannot speak to him, try as you might. I know. I have my own ghosts, Bran. A brother that I loved, a brother that I hated, a woman I desired. Through the trees, I see them still, but no word of mine has ever reached them. The past remains the past. We can learn from it, but we cannot change it."

 

Quote

At the heart of the godswood, the great white weirwood brooded over its reflection in the black pool, its leaves rustling in a chill wind. When it felt Bran watching, it lifted its eyes from the still waters and stared back at him knowingly.

I think Bran is so powerful that he will probably be able to send his consciousness back in time to permanently inhabit multiple people in different times in order to re-write history (all the Brandons, Peremore the Twisted, etc).

 

The part about Ghost not being able to sense Summer, was it because of the wall, or because Summer was in the cave?  Is the wall a magic barrier to block skinchanging? 

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7 hours ago, kissdbyfire said:

Jon's dream in Dance where we see Ghost running towards "the cave of night where the sun had hidden" always makes me think of the Nightfort and the BG

I can see that ... and it would be  a route leading to Summer, where Bran and Summer have passed.

3 hours ago, By Odin's Beard said:

I think Bloodraven can only observe in dreams, I don't think he was ever powerful enough to send visions or actually communicate, and he taught Bran that Bran would have the same limitations, but Bran is much more powerful than Bloodraven is/was

Wow! ... Denigrate the revered and adored Bloodraven at your peril.:o:angry:... ;)

 Bloodraven certainly can send visions and communicate in dreams. Where do you suppose the three eyed crow came from? Who caused it to speak to Bran, to converse with him, to give him visions of flying and visions both literal and symbolic involving his family, etc., etc.?

Bran obviously seems to have a very special ability in regard to communicating but, so far, in the waking world, whether he can be heard (faintly) seems to depend on the other person's state of mind or receptivity, as well. (See Theon/Reek) ... If we look ahead to the TWOW Theon sample chapter... The maester's ravens seem to be inhabited by both Bran and Bloodraven since they're sometimes saying different things simultaneously.

I do have hope that he will be able to make a further breakthrough if Theon is taken to the tree in TWOW .. we'll have to wait and see.

3 hours ago, By Odin's Beard said:

I think Bran is so powerful that he will probably be able to send his consciousness back in time to permanently inhabit multiple people in different times in order to re-write history (all the Brandons, Peremore the Twisted, etc).

I think that would be a complete waste of time for the reader ... Never mind all my speculation and expectations, everything I've read to date doesn't matter or never existed (Nyah, nyah..)  And the writer ... investing all those years in creating a vast history, cross referencing between novels inside the series and outside works as well, only to have it be of no consequence to the story. (What a supreme masochist he would have to be!)

3 hours ago, By Odin's Beard said:

The part about Ghost not being able to sense Summer, was it because of the wall, or because Summer was in the cave?  Is the wall a magic barrier to block skinchanging? 

No, I don't think the wall is blocking either Ghost's ability to sense or skinchanging. I think Bloodraven is interfering to wake Jon up before Ghost, and whoever is giving him the ability to sense/see/hear his siblings can pass too much of that knowledge to Jon.

ETA: I do think Bran will be very powerful and have certain abilities that may be greater Bloodraven's, but BR may have some abilities greater than Bran's. We actually don't know in detail yet. Much of what we know about Bloodraven comes through rumour, which can be deceptive, yet mask real powers - both at once.

It's not necessary to make it a contest. Think of the people who rise to greatness in our world and how many of them say they could only reach their greatness because they stood on the shoulders of those who came before them.

 

Edited by bemused

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50 minutes ago, bemused said:

I can see that ... and it would be  a route leading to Summer, where Bran and Summer have passed.

Yeah, that's my take as well. Reading that passage - btw I love it - I always feel as if Ghost was trying to get north of the Wall through the NF & BG.

50 minutes ago, bemused said:

Wow! ... Denigrate the revered and adored Bloodraven at your peril.:o:angry:... ;)

Damn straight! :commie:

50 minutes ago, bemused said:

 Bloodraven certainly can send visions and communicate in dreams. Where do you suppose the three eyed crow came from? Who caused it to speak to Bran, to converse with him, to give him visions of flying and visions both literal and symbolic involving his family, etc., etc.?

I know you weren't replying to me here but I'll chime in anyway. 

There are lots of readers who don't believe Bloodraven is the 3EC. I have read some really weird and nonsensical theories about it over the years, and I'm sure you have too. 

50 minutes ago, bemused said:

Bran obviously seems to have a very special ability in regard to communicating but, so far, in the waking world, whether he can be heard (faintly) seems to depend on the other person's state of mind or receptivity, as well. (See Theon/Reek) ... If we look ahead to the TWOW Theon sample chapter... The maester's ravens seem to be inhabited by both Bran and Bloodraven since they're sometimes saying different things simultaneously.

Exactly.

50 minutes ago, bemused said:

I do have hope that he will be able to make a further breakthrough if Theon is taken to the tree in TWOW .. we'll have to wait and see.

Yes. Yes, yes, yes! :D

50 minutes ago, bemused said:

I think that would be a complete waste of time for the reader ... Never mind all my speculation and expectations, everything I've read to date doesn't matter or never existed (Nyah, nyah..)  And the writer ... investing all those years in creating a vast history, cross referencing between novels inside the series and outside works as well, only to have it be of no consequence to the story. (What a supreme masochist!)

This x 1,000. The whole thing is a pointless and futile exercise b/c Bran will travel back in time and reset the board. It makes no sense whatsoever, and revealing any type of time travel, especially this late in the game, would be really weird.

 

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8 hours ago, kissdbyfire said:

Jon's dream in Dance where we see Ghost running towards "the cave of night where the sun had hidden" always makes me think of the Nightfort and the BG. 

I always find it so interesting that difference people can read the same passage come up with different conclusions. When I read that passage, it reminded me of the caves from the Gendel and Gorne story. 

Quote

"You know nothing, Jon Snow. Gendel did not die. He cut his way free, through the crows, and led his people back north with the wolves howling at their heels. Only Gendel did not know the caves as Gorne had, and took a wrong turn." She swept the torch back and forth, so the shadows jumped and moved. "Deeper he went, and deeper, and when he tried t' turn back the ways that seemed familiar ended in stone rather than sky. Soon his torches began t' fail, one by one, till finally there was naught but dark. Gendel's folk were never seen again, but on a still night you can hear their children's children's children sobbing under the hills, still looking for the way back up. Listen? Do you hear them?" (Jon III, ASOS 26)

 

 

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2 hours ago, bemused said:

II think that would be a complete waste of time for the reader ... Never mind all my speculation and expectations, everything I've read to date doesn't matter or never existed (Nyah, nyah..)  And the writer ... investing all those years in creating a vast history, cross referencing between novels inside the series and outside works as well, only to have it be of no consequence to the story. (What a supreme masochist he would have to be!)

I was more suggesting that these time-travel events have already taken place and are in already canon in the current timeline even though nobody yet knows that it was Bran, that was why I mentioned Peremore the Twisted who founded the Citadel (perimo/peremere means "to annihilate, kill, or slay" in latin, and Bran says in book one trees ought not to have faces) and the Citadel's mission is to build a world without magic.  Either Bran was unable to meaningfully change the timeline because his opponent responded in kind, or he was just setting up his pieces on the board in advance of the final battle.

But, on the other hand George has already written a story where on the very last page a time-traveling disabled boy completely erases the timeline of the story we just read--it was called Under Siege, it is in Dreamsongs 2. 

Also, this time-travel trope of "the war is completely lost, and the last ditch effort is to send someone back in time to try to alter the timeline" is a very common and successful one, from X-men days of future past, Star Trek First Contact, Terminator, Edge of Tomorrow, Harry Potter, Dr Strange, etc. 

 

And no I don't think Bloodraven is the 3 eyed crow.  I think it is either future Bran or another "ghost in the weirwood" that we haven't met yet. 

 

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The fact that Martin uses and re-uses many elements, themes, archetypes, etc from his own works is well-known. One very major and important difference between Under Siege and ASoIaF is that the former is a short story and the latter an epic saga. It's one thing to pull some things off in a short story, and quite another in the type of story we are reading now. 

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21 minutes ago, By Odin's Beard said:

But, on the other hand George has already written a story where on the very last page a time-traveling disabled boy completely erases the timeline of the story we just read--it was called Under Siege, it is in Dreamsongs 2. 

Also, this time-travel trope of "the war is completely lost, and the last ditch effort is to send someone back in time to try to alter the timeline" is a very common and successful one, from X-men days of future past, Star Trek First Contact, Terminator, Edge of Tomorrow, Harry Potter, Dr Strange, etc. 

I see @kissdbyfire beat me to it...

OK, I see where you're coming from.

I haven't read Under Siege, but I still feel the same. It may be one thing for a stand alone story, but considering all the historic mysteries, hidden IDs ( both those that we know, or merely suspect) and the fact that George is still fleshing these things out (some of which, like Dunk and Egg, he doesn't plan on completing until after ASOIAF is finished) I can't think it will all come down to such a simple solution.

As for what I've underlined, yes, it's common, and no matter how successful it's been (or because of it), it's now all too common for me.

As I said before, I wouldn't rule out that an adjustment would never be be tried (or hasn't already been tried, for all we know) in the most extreme circumstances, since George has written the possibility into the story. I would expect it to have some pretty negative consequences, though.

1 hour ago, By Odin's Beard said:

And no I don't think Bloodraven is the 3 eyed crow.  I think it is either future Bran or another "ghost in the weirwood" that we haven't met yet.

Do you suppose Bloodraven is there for nothing?... I don't really expect an answer to that. What's the point of meeting him and building up his reputation in his back story? ...

If I seem a bit testy, I've about had my fill of future Bran (the all-powerful). To hear some tell it, the wind never whistles or howls or causes a cloak to snap or flutter on it's own, much less ever blow from the north, but future Bran is causing it. Sometimes, I'd like to throw him in a sack with Theon Durden and find a deep dark oubliette to drop them in.

There.That's off my chest.

I love Bran , but he's not THE hero of this story.

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4 hours ago, kissdbyfire said:

This x 1,000. The whole [time travel] is a pointless and futile exercise b/c Bran will travel back in time and reset the board. It makes no sense whatsoever, and revealing any type of time travel, especially this late in the game, would be really weird.

I haven't actually read this book yet, but in Dragonflight the first book in the Pern sci-fi fantasy series, the dragon weyrs (where they breed dragons which are needed to defend the planet from space fungus) are mysteriously abandoned (like the castles along the Wall in ASOIAF), towards the end of the story we learn that one of the characters went back in time and brought the dragons and their riders forward in time to fight the fungus.  That was a late in the game time-travel reveal.

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I haven't read McCaffrey's books either. So my question is, are they as complex as ASoIaF? Because as @bemused said, the amount of plots and secrets and mysteries, the complexity of the story and depth of the characters in ASoIaF doesn't really allow for something like this. IMO. It would feel totally wrong and like a ginormous asspull, and that's not really Martin's style. My 2p.

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4 minutes ago, bemused said:

I love Bran , but he's not THE hero of this story.

"And I have a tender spot in my heart for cripples and bastards and broken things.”

I do think Bran, Sam, and Tyrion will end up being "the heroes."

 

7 minutes ago, bemused said:

Do you suppose Bloodraven is there for nothing?... I don't really expect an answer to that. What's the point of meeting him and building up his reputation in his back story? ...

Sorry that I derailed this into another BR is not 3ec discussion.  But I think Bloodraven's cave is a trap, and they intended to get Bran hooked up to the trees and suck the life out of him, like the Undying tried to do to Dany.  Joining the weirwood network is a Faustian Bargain, what is lost is more valuable than what is gained.  Bran is supposed to learn the ropes there and escape just in time before the roots grow into/out of him (weirwood seeds in his stomach?).

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Ah @bemused, I have missed you.   So great, come right out of captivity like buckshot.   Let's clear something up right from the start:  There will be many more heroes than a trinity of Sam, Bran and Tyrion saving wretched and miserable Westeros.   In fact, get me drunk enough and I will argue against Bran and Tyrion.   Sorry, I could not get Odin's Beard to autopopulate.   Get me drunk enough and I'll tell you about that, too.   OK, that's off my chest, so let's get to it shall we?  

First, isn't Jon most like Bloodraven genetically?   That whole North meets Targ super special nuclear blood?  I'm reading through the dreams and commentary in the OP wondering why it never crossed my mind that Jon wouldn't be a greenseer?   Maybe it's a latent thing.   Jon is a bit slow on the overt magic ability front.   For the sake of argument let's assume Jon isn't a greenseer.   OK, fine.   What is he?   A warg, man of conscience, humanitarian, rebel, possible dragon rider and surprisingly skilled lover of older women.    Hrm...what's wrong here?   Why should Bran be most like Bloodraven?   Greenseeing is only 1 of Brynden River's many talents.    Maybe greenliving is like baseball, pitchers and catchers: some can send and others receive.   If Jon's only real communications with the greenseers is in dreams does that make Jon a potential greendreamer like Jojen?   What does it mean that Bran and Jon can dream each others' wolves?   I need an Excedrin.  Again.  

bemused, the hooks in the OP for me are the connections between dreams, your time lapse rationale and yah you knew it, Greenseer X.   Have you looked at Arya and Sansa's dreams at all in connection with this?   I know Sansa is a total bore in her sleep, but Arya does have her wolf dreams and there was that weirwood watching her in the last dream I read.   As you can see, I really enjoyed the OP and forever appreciate the thought and work you put into this.   Well done, my neurons are in knots now.   Greenseer X, parasitical tree and dream dweller.  Utterly diabolical.   

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44 minutes ago, kissdbyfire said:

I haven't read McCaffrey's books either. So my question is, are they as complex as ASoIaF? Because as @bemused said, the amount of plots and secrets and mysteries, the complexity of the story and depth of the characters in ASoIaF doesn't really allow for something like this. IMO. It would feel totally wrong and like a ginormous asspull, and that's not really Martin's style. My 2p.

The Pern series is 23+ books deep, but that time travel thing was from the first book.  How far into Harry Potter was it when the Time Turner was revealed?

 

I think there has been sufficient foreshadowing that there is something going on with all the Brandons.

Quote

Thousands and thousands of years ago, Brandon the Builder had raised Winterfell, and some said the Wall. Bran knew the story, but it had never been his favorite. Maybe one of the other Brandons had liked that story. Sometimes Nan would talk to him as if he were her Brandon, the baby she had nursed all those years ago, and sometimes she confused him with his uncle Brandon, who was killed by the Mad King before Bran was even born. She had lived so long, Mother had told him once, that all the Brandon Starks had become one person in her head.

 

That's a Brandon, the tall one with the dreamy face, he was Brandon the Shipwright, because he loved the sea.  . . . His son was Brandon the Burner, because he put the torch to all his father's ships in grief. . . . His daughter Lyanna and his son Brandon are in the tombs beside him. Not me, another Brandon, my father's brother.

As Brandon the Builder is connected with an improbable number of great works (Storm's End and the Wall, to name but two prominent examples) over a span of numerous lifetimes, the tales have likely turned some ancient king, or a number of different kings of House Stark (for there have been many Brandons in the long reign of that family) into something more legendary.

 

[Storm's End] a young boy helped him erect one so strong and cunningly made that it could defy their gales. The boy grew to be Brandon the Builder

 

[hightower] Some say it was designed by Brandon the Builder, whilst others name his son, another Brandon; the king who demanded it, and paid for it, is remembered as Uthor of the High Tower.

 

"He was going to be a knight," Arya was saying now. "A knight of the Kingsguard. Can he still be a knight?"
"No," Ned said. He saw no use in lying to her. "Yet someday he may be the lord of a great holdfast and sit on the king's council. He might raise castles like Brandon the Builder, or sail a ship across the Sunset Sea, or enter your mother's Faith and become the High Septon."

 

In Under Siege, the crippled time-traveling kid is hideously deformed, confined to a wheelchair, and is in constant pain.  He just wants to be able to live as a regular human and in the end gets to do so by essentially skin-changing a man in the past and remaining there. 

I think Bran will be all those things in past lives: he will be a knight, a great lord, a builder, a religious leader, and a sailor.  Bonus tinfoil, after he has done all those lives he will "sail a ship across the Sunset Sea" in Bran's case will be him warging the Red Comet at the end of the series and flying off into space (just finished reading Nightflyers tonight)

 

But like I said, I don't think time travel will erase the timeline, I think it is already baked into the cake with mysterious anachronistic things like the wall, Winterfell, Storm's End, etc.

 

Extra bonus;  Uthor had Bran build the Hightower, Uthor ~ Other, and the Hightower is a white stone structure with a red flame on top, its lighthouse and a symbolic weirwood--their words are "we light the way", Uthor's son Peremore the Twisted ("the annihilator") creates the Citadel which is a repository of scientific knowledge.  So Bran, the Others, and the weirwood, building an encyclopedia galactica for the purpose of eradicating magic? 

"The world the Citadel is building has no place in it for sorcery or prophecy or glass candles, much less for dragons."

The weirwood is immortal, does it just want to be put out of its misery?  That's what happened in The Glass Flower, Kleronomas was immortal and he just wanted to die and was granted the gift of death with a mind swap.

 

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I have to disagree with your conclusion that Summer is the wolf that Ghost can’t sense in DWD Jon I...

As you quoted and underlined yourself:

On the other side the wind was colder still, the wolf sensed. That was where his brother was, the grey brother who smelled of summer.

To me it seems clear that the wolf Ghost cannot sense is Grey Wind. The larger passage is partially a callback to SoS Bran I:

“He could not smell them, nor hear their howls by night, yet he felt their presence at his back . . . all but the sister they had lost. His tail drooped when he remembered her. Four now, not five. Four and one more, the white who has no voice.”

In SoS Summer recaps his siblings and notes Lady’s missing. In DWD Ghost does the same for Grey Wind.

This is also clear because Jon notes that “Ghost knows that Grey Wind is dead”.

Jon is interpreting Ghost being unable to sense Grey Wind as Ghost knowing that Grey Wind is dead.

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3 hours ago, kissdbyfire said:

I haven't read McCaffrey's books either. So my question is, are they as complex as ASoIaF?

I've read them, years ago.. but not the later ones . Probably 8 or so. I'd say nowhere near as complex, and for me, they did eventually get a bit repetitive.

3 hours ago, By Odin's Beard said:

I do think Bran, Sam, and Tyrion will end up being "the heroes."

The probability is there will be many heroes and many heroic acts by secondary and tertiary characters... :rolleyes:But I see you left Jon out ... must be a mistake, no? :lmao:I jest - it's self explanatory.

1 hour ago, By Odin's Beard said:

I think there has been sufficient foreshadowing that there is something going on with all the Brandons.

More than one thing, I'll bet.

3 hours ago, By Odin's Beard said:

Sorry that I derailed this into another BR is not 3ec discussion.  But I think Bloodraven's cave is a trap, and they intended to get Bran hooked up to the trees and suck the life out of him,... .... Joining the weirwood network is a Faustian Bargain, ...... ...... Bran is supposed to learn the ropes there and escape just in time before the roots grow into/out of him (weirwood seeds in his stomach?).

Good, let's not derail then... Needless to say, I can't agree with any part of the rest (except that I doubt Bran will need to spend the rest of his life in the cotf cave.) But we're all entitled to our own tinfoil, and it sounds like you have a pretty well-developed theory. If you have a thread on your topic that you want to link to, please feel free. ( I started this thread, myself, because I realised how detailed it would be and didn't want to derail someone else's.)

Edited by bemused

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I disagree with certain of your premises. For one, it is an assumption that the Children who are melding into the weirwood are in fact greenseers. What are they doing then? Jojen told Bran that the weirwoods act as a database for the Children. So this would be them uploading themselves, experiences and knowledge into the trees. Presumably they are old and dying and are getting to their final resting place.

For another there is nothing to say that Bran was not capable of influencing dreams during his time in the crypts. So far as it seems Bloodraven is not giving him abilities but helping him to develop those he already has.

Other than that the idea of another player on the "psychic plane" cannot be excluded, though Bran's ability to sense the "shade" for lack of a better word seems to speak against it. I don't see any particular evidence in that direction. The dreams or rather visions are symbolic by nature because they are representations of something that is meant to be intangible. 

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9 hours ago, bemused said:

:rolleyes:But I see you left Jon out ... must be a mistake, no? :lmao:I jest - it's self explanatory. 

I can't think of any of George's other stories where a handsome, bold, strong young man is the hero.  His stories are generally about outcasts and misfits, while Jon does think he is bastard and therefore a misfit, I think it is too close to the "hidden prince" trope if/when it is revealed that he is the trueborn son of Rhaegar and Lyanna, and George has said that he thinks Tolkien-esque tropes like that are totally played-out.

I think Jon will turn out to be a villian, and the story of the Nightking being taken down by Brandon the Breaker and Jorumun foreshadows it.  Jon is Nightking, corpse bride is Dany, Bran is Bran, Tormund is Jorumun. 
 

Quote
"I'm Jon Snow."  She flinched. "An evil name."

 

"his bastard brother Jon sleeping alone in a cold bed, his skin growing pale and hard as the memory of all warmth fled from him."

"Scarecrow brothers tumbled down, black cloaks ablaze. "Snow," an eagle cried, as foemen scuttled up the ice like spiders. Jon was armored in black ice, but his blade burned red in his fist. As the dead men reached the top of the Wall he sent them down to die again. He slew a greybeard and a beardless boy, a giant, a gaunt man with filed teeth, a girl with thick red hair. Too late he recognized Ygritte. She was gone as quick as she'd appeared.

The world dissolved into a red mist. Jon stabbed and slashed and cut. He hacked down Donal Noye and gutted Deaf Dick Follard. Qhorin Halfhand stumbled to his knees, trying in vain to staunch the flow of blood from his neck. "I am the Lord of Winterfell," Jon screamed. It was Robb before him now, his hair wet with melting snow. Longclaw took his head off. Then a gnarled hand seized Jon roughly by the shoulder. He whirled …"

Also, the fact that the Nightking's name was erased from history is telling, “When you tear out a man's tongue, you are not proving him a liar, you're only telling the world that you fear what he might say.”

 

Also "Prophecy will always bite your prick off" the Prince that was Promised was one such prophecy.  If Jon was the product of a mating that was suggested to Rhaegar in a prophecy then I think we cannot trust it, it is just as likely a recipe for birthing the antichrist that Rhaegar got tricked into doing. 

 

 

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11 hours ago, Curled Finger said:

<snip> 

First, isn't Jon most like Bloodraven genetically?   That whole North meets Targ super special nuclear blood?  I'm reading through the dreams and commentary in the OP wondering why it never crossed my mind that Jon wouldn't be a greenseer?   Maybe it's a latent thing.   Jon is a bit slow on the overt magic ability front.   For the sake of argument let's assume Jon isn't a greenseer.   OK, fine.   What is he?   A warg, man of conscience, humanitarian, rebel, possible dragon rider and surprisingly skilled lover of older women.    Hrm...what's wrong here?   Why should Bran be most like Bloodraven?   Greenseeing is only 1 of Brynden River's many talents.    Maybe greenliving is like baseball, pitchers and catchers: some can send and others receive.   If Jon's only real communications with the greenseers is in dreams does that make Jon a potential greendreamer like Jojen?   What does it mean that Bran and Jon can dream each others' wolves?   I need an Excedrin.  Again.  

bemused, the hooks in the OP for me are the connections between dreams, your time lapse rationale and yah you knew it, Greenseer X.   Have you looked at Arya and Sansa's dreams at all in connection with this?   I know Sansa is a total bore in her sleep, but Arya does have her wolf dreams and there was that weirwood watching her in the last dream I read.   As you can see, I really enjoyed the OP and forever appreciate the thought and work you put into this.   Well done, my neurons are in knots now.   Greenseer X, parasitical tree and dream dweller.  Utterly diabolical.   

Yeah, obviously Jon and BR are more alike by virtue of Targ. blood... and doubly so, if BR has Stark blood on the distaff side. ... Outside of genetics, both would say that at some point, they sacrificed their honour for a greater good - plus other resonances - bastardy central to their lives (each perhaps half of a Rorschach image)... one lost an eye, the other almost lost an eye... etc.

Bran is a 1 in a 1,000,000 greenseer. I don't think Jon could become one (the odds would be really, really astronomical) ... I don't think he'll become a greendreamer, Jojen's dreams are all completely symbolic and we don't know much about how they work yet ... I do think Jon is  something quite unique... (Now you've made some other interesting ideas occur , but I'll hit them in another post - I need to put them in order.) 

I don't think Jon will always only be able to receive this information in dreams. Once he bonds with Ghost fully, he should be able to receive whenever he checks in (like Bran checking for the all-clear in WF, or knowing through Summer that the clans were watching as he traveled north). But as I see it he won't be able to ask for information, or direct it, necessarily. Greenseer X is part of Ghost and (I think) responds to what Ghost is thinking/feeling , or just transmits what he (GX) wants to come to Jon through the weirnet.

I haven't looked at the girls' dreams in pick-apart mode much (yet). But the weirwood watching Nymeria / Arya is exactly how Ghost can see what she's doing or has done.

 "A warg, man of conscience, humanitarian, rebel, possible dragon rider and surprisingly skilled lover of older women.    Hrm...what's wrong here? " ... Not a damn thing, if a female may opine.

 

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