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Anck Su Namun

Summer eating wights

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We know it's nasty, from Bran's point of view while warged in Summer.  But the fact that the direwolf is willing to eat wight carcass should be a clue to us that this is how the direwolves will sustain themselves during the long winter.  The Starks will continue their existence as wolves.  It won't take too long before the Starks start thinking wight carcass is quite delish.  

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Summer dug up a severed arm, black and covered with hoarfrost, its fingers opening and closing at it pulled itself across the frozen snow.  There was still enough meat on it to fill his empty belly, and after that was done he cracked the arm bones for the marrow.  Only then did the arm remember it was dead.

Bran ate with Summer and his pack, as a wolf.

 

Edited by Anck Su Namun

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You know, I don't like all of the Starks (Arya and Sansa are boring and Jon is just ok), and Queen Daenerys is the star of the books, but even I know this is a trollish post. With so little to talk about now until Winds is out, why make a thread like this? 

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20 minutes ago, Anck Su Namun said:

We know it's nasty, from Bran's point of view while warged in Summer.  But the fact that the direwolf is willing to eat wight carcass should be a clue to us that this is how the direwolves will sustain themselves during the long winter.  The Starks will continue their existence as wolves.  It won't take too long before the Starks start thinking wight carcass is quite delish.  

 

It's a twist on crows feasting on the dead.  This is the north so the direwolves fulfill the role of the carrion crows.  The plant eating animals will die from lack of food because photosynthesis will stop in darkness.  Those carnivores who aren't so picky will find a lot of frozen corpses to dine on.  

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3 hours ago, Anck Su Namun said:

We know it's nasty, from Bran's point of view while warged in Summer.  But the fact that the direwolf is willing to eat wight carcass should be a clue to us that this is how the direwolves will sustain themselves during the long winter.  The lots of starving folks  will continue their existence eating corpses like wolves.  It won't take too long before the people start thinking wight carcass is quite delish.  

Fix'd it fer ya.

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When discussing the books with people in my circle, a common comment made by people is the wordy detail of the different foods and feasts. I've always thought the Long Night would come and we'd get equal focus put on eating rats, leather, and the corpses of their peers but never even considered humans would eats wights. That is pretty interesting and creepy. 

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The author doesn't look at savage as a bad thing.  They have a better chance to survive compared to the civilized.  Our author came up when movies like Planet of the Apes and Omega Man were popular.

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There's a lot of themes at work here. Cannibalism has been mentioned from time to time throughout the series. The Skagosi are allegedly guilty of eating their neighbours. Stannis has men punished for eating people on the march to WF. But he himself considered cannibalism back when he was holding SE in Robert's Rebellion. Only sparing the men he sentenced to be catapulted out of the fortress, on the grounds they might need to eat them... 

From Varymyr, we know Wargs are instructed not to feast on the flesh of another person whilst wearing the skin of their animals.  But it can be argued that a white is no longer human. So the OP's example may be the only acceptable way of feasting on dead humans. But I don't recall him having the same stipulation for when a warg isn't wearing the skin of his animal(s). So for all we know, the First Men have been eating their dead as a means to survive winter for thousands of years. You know how it goes: You know nothing, Jon Snow.

Ultimately it comes down to survival. I'll never forget watching the motion picture: Alive, back when I was a kid. Even as a child I urged them to eat the dead and live another day. 

Anyway. Whether 'the Gods' favour it or not, Bran has already committed the alleged 'worst abomination' by warging another person. So eating a White isn't going to bother him much at all. And I don't think it's wise to conflate the rules passed down to wargs with the folklore of the old gods. There are many discrepancies up in the North. Things that don't add up. Craster practised incest right under the noses of the old gods! Maybe he was already cursed. We don't know.
They needn't be one in the same. We don't know for sure what First Men customs are outside of the nobility. We know the Starks have a crypt. We know that Roose laid his son to rest beneath his castle. But what about the Free Folk? Or the Crannogmen? Or just the average northern peasant? How and when did flaying become a Bolton tradition? A tradition that appears to be exclusive to them. 

Short version: We don't know enough about the land or the people. There are things missing. And that's not surprising given the fact that the one thing the Northmen, Freefolk and Crannogmen all have in common is that they don't write these things down. One other thing these people have in common is that as a people, they have survived many winters before now. The words, 'Winter is Coming' may have a lot of unforeseen implications. Cannibalism could easily be one of them. 

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1 hour ago, Umber Jack said:

But won't he get food poisoning? The best before date has long passed... Or would the ice magic work like a freezer?

The flesh is frozen.  Wolves scavenge and they don't get food poisoning.  They will be wolves when they go cannibal.  I just don't see GM writing a scene where the Stark kids are cannibals while human.  It's not cannibalism because they are wolves. 

Cannibalism is what Manderly did.  Summer is doing what wolves do when the hunting isn't good.  Scavenge.

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On 11/16/2018 at 1:42 PM, TheThreeEyedCow said:

There's a lot of themes at work here. Cannibalism has been mentioned from time to time throughout the series. The Skagosi are allegedly guilty of eating their neighbours. Stannis has men punished for eating people on the march to WF. But he himself considered cannibalism back when he was holding SE in Robert's Rebellion. Only sparing the men he sentenced to be catapulted out of the fortress, on the grounds they might need to eat them... 

From Varymyr, we know Wargs are instructed not to feast on the flesh of another person whilst wearing the skin of their animals.  But it can be argued that a white is no longer human. So the OP's example may be the only acceptable way of feasting on dead humans. But I don't recall him having the same stipulation for when a warg isn't wearing the skin of his animal(s). So for all we know, the First Men have been eating their dead as a means to survive winter for thousands of years. You know how it goes: You know nothing, Jon Snow.

Ultimately it comes down to survival. I'll never forget watching the motion picture: Alive, back when I was a kid. Even as a child I urged them to eat the dead and live another day. 

Anyway. Whether 'the Gods' favour it or not, Bran has already committed the alleged 'worst abomination' by warging another person. So eating a White isn't going to bother him much at all. And I don't think it's wise to conflate the rules passed down to wargs with the folklore of the old gods. There are many discrepancies up in the North. Things that don't add up. Craster practised incest right under the noses of the old gods! Maybe he was already cursed. We don't know.
They needn't be one in the same. We don't know for sure what First Men customs are outside of the nobility. We know the Starks have a crypt. We know that Roose laid his son to rest beneath his castle. But what about the Free Folk? Or the Crannogmen? Or just the average northern peasant? How and when did flaying become a Bolton tradition? A tradition that appears to be exclusive to them. 

Short version: We don't know enough about the land or the people. There are things missing. And that's not surprising given the fact that the one thing the Northmen, Freefolk and Crannogmen all have in common is that they don't write these things down. One other thing these people have in common is that as a people, they have survived many winters before now. The words, 'Winter is Coming' may have a lot of unforeseen implications. Cannibalism could easily be one of them. 

The author's original outline had Catelyn and her children escaping to the other side of the wall.  The savagery of their direwolves saved them from the widllings.  Martin is doing the opposite of most authors.  Instead of the people moving towards progress their world is going back to being primitive.  I guess George Martin wants to explore and different path than most stories in which the people are moving towards the future.  The western side of the story is moving towards the past rather than the future.  

Edited by Aline de Gavrillac

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On 11/15/2018 at 5:06 PM, Anck Su Namun said:

We know it's nasty, from Bran's point of view while warged in Summer.  But the fact that the direwolf is willing to eat wight carcass should be a clue to us that this is how the direwolves will sustain themselves during the long winter.  The Starks will continue their existence as wolves.  It won't take too long before the Starks start thinking wight carcass is quite delish.  

Quote

Summer dug up a severed arm, black and covered with hoarfrost, its fingers opening and closing at it pulled itself across the frozen snow.  There was still enough meat on it to fill his empty belly, and after that was done he cracked the arm bones for the marrow.  Only then did the arm remember it was dead.

Bran ate with Summer and his pack, as a wolf.

Bran enters the mind of Summer during his wolf dreams but he doesn't actually become Summer.  Jojen even points that out to him and explains that he gets no sustenance when summer feasts on flesh.  Summer eating the flesh of wights dose not amount to Bran indulging in cannibalism.  But Bran did indulge in cannibalism with Meera, Jojen and Hodor when Coldhands brought them boar meat which was actually long pig (human remains).  Starvation and extreme hunger have the potential to make people do extreme things.

 

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@White Ravens I like the inversion of the Old Nan's tale that GRRM is doing there. The legends says:

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and fed their dead servants on the flesh of human children.

Yet we have human children feeding on the dead servants and we have not seen any wight feeding in the books.

Edited by Tucu

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It would seem that, in Winter, the fastidious, the picky eaters, the high-minded moralists, and the vegetarians would be the first to go.

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37 minutes ago, zandru said:

It would seem that, in Winter, the fastidious, the picky eaters, the high-minded moralists, and the vegetarians would be the first to go.

Nah. Dead of the LN, and I’d be all over those not-so-juicy wights! :lol:

Seriously, though, the point of the scene is to show another way to kill the nasty buggers: get to the marrow, “and the hand remembers it was dead” (paraphrasing).

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On 11/15/2018 at 8:06 PM, Anck Su Namun said:

We know it's nasty, from Bran's point of view while warged in Summer.  But the fact that the direwolf is willing to eat wight carcass should be a clue to us that this is how the direwolves will sustain themselves during the long winter.  The Starks will continue their existence as wolves.  It won't take too long before the Starks start thinking wight carcass is quite delish.  

 

It's nasty from a person's view but wild wolves will eat road kill and decaying flesh when they can't hunt.  Bran was tasting the wight's flesh through his mind link with Summer.  But starvation could force them in their second lives as direwolves to scavenge.   

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20 hours ago, Tucu said:

@White Ravens I like the inversion of the Old Nan's tale that GRRM is doing there. The legends says:

Yet we have human children feeding on the dead servants and we have not seen any wight feeding in the books.

Old Nan is telling the story from the human side.  Which would naturally paint the humans as the more moral of the two sides.  You just never know.  

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On 11/19/2018 at 2:03 AM, Aline de Gavrillac said:

The author's original outline had Catelyn and her children escaping to the other side of the wall.  The savagery of their direwolves saved them from the widllings.  Martin is doing the opposite of most authors.  Instead of the people moving towards progress their world is going back to being primitive.  I guess George Martin wants to explore and different path than most stories in which the people are moving towards the future.  The western side of the story is moving towards the past rather than the future.  

That was something I was unaware of.
And yeah. The river of time does seem to be winding back on itself. One thing I find interesting is that George's stories seem to take place after a cataclysm where-as this time around we should see one transpire. 

 

 

On 11/19/2018 at 9:57 PM, kissdbyfire said:

Nah. Dead of the LN, and I’d be all over those not-so-juicy wights! :lol:

Seriously, though, the point of the scene is to show another way to kill the nasty buggers: get to the marrow, “and the hand remembers it was dead” (paraphrasing).


How does one 'get to the marrow' outside of eating it? I'm struggling to see it utilised as a strategy. Should the NW put down their swords and spears in favour of spoons? 

Or is it a a case of using crushing weapons, like war-hammers and slings? 

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34 minutes ago, TheThreeEyedCow said:

 How does one 'get to the marrow' outside of eating it? I'm struggling to see it utilised as a strategy. Should the NW put down their swords and spears in favour of spoons? 

Or is it a a case of using crushing weapons, like war-hammers and slings? 

I don’t think the marrow has to be consumed, just exposed or something? We need more info, as w/ so much else. But that line is not there for hoots and giggles. The whole, “only then the arm (hand?) remembered it was dead” is just too specific imo.

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It did stick in my mind too. But I always saw it as the limb being rendered useless by the Direwolf's crushing jaws. You know, even reanimated, it'd still rely on the limbs mechanics to function? And when the tendons and bones were pulled apart, it'd simply become inoperable. 

I like what you're implying though, as it coincides with a few other things characters have mentioned re: bones. Lady Dustin is peeved at Ned for not returning her husbands bones. Aeron and Melisandre both make references to bones in their religion. I guess there's little strategic value in the knowledge though. It basically just means the WW are tough beyond reason. So the NW would still require a ton of dragon glass to stop them dead. But It's a sneaky way of informing the reader that the bones themselves are significant in some way. 

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I think GRRM was trying to underscore the fact the Wights are extremely difficult to kill.  Bad enough that limbs severed from bodies remain animated and "alive" but when the flesh is removed from the outside they still continue to move.  He's showing that the marrow inside the bone still contains enough essence of the former limb for it to continue moving and functioning as an organ and that kind of makes sense as marrow is involved in blood cell production.  Fire destroys all of the tissues in the limb more efficiently but a bit of extra work can still get the job done if you don't have any fire available.

As an aside, marrow is delicious when cooked.  A favourite meal in our household is braised lamb shanks and I love eating the fatty marrow inside. 

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