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What is your theory on The Others?

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My wackiest theory is that they are a morphologically fluid alien species from a much colder world than this one who use pure liquid oxygen in place of blood. They model their forms after local species and so we have White Walkers and Ice Dragons but they are the same species.

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2 hours ago, Lord Lannister said:

Well I'd hope Martin is more clever than to have some global warming parallel be the driving force of his incessantly evil villains. I read to escape the crap in this world mostly.

I'd also really hope they're more complicated than mindless monsters that are just awakened and attack randomly Egyptian mummy style. But can't discount that either.

Honestly, given the Long Night supposedly happened well before there were Targaryens in Westeros, I'm not sure what relevance Rhaegar and Lyanna having a kid would have to them. But why not blame this on them too? 

But I'm more convinced they're just mindless dicks. No way of spinning laughing as you slaughter a helpless person.

Well, Martin himself has already drawn the parallel between the Others and climate change:

https://www.esquire.com/entertainment/tv/a23863674/george-rr-martin-game-of-thrones-politics-trump-climate-change/

But I certainly don't see the Others as mindless. They are clearly sentient: they speak a language, they have emotions, they coordinate with one another and they have the skills to craft very advanced weapons and armor.

My suspicion on Stark and Targaryen unions has to do with blood magic. Stark ice mixed with Targ fire is probably a very bad thing for, well, probably everybody because it opens the possibility that someone could actually warg a dragon. I think it's possible this is why the Pact of Ice and Fire was never consummated, probably after a warning by the Green Men or maybe a CotF.

And in all the old movies I've seen, the mummy never just wakes up at random. It was always when someone disturbs their crypt... :ph34r:

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https://www.westeros.org/Citadel/SSM/Month/2011/07

Quote

Tad: You say that like they’re the only ones. We know better, George! Tapping a vein of reader interest here – do present-day events factor into your writing, and how much do you have real-life political events in mind?

GRRM: I think there’s some of that going on, yeah, you know. But I’m not setting out to write a political allegory. Tolkien was often accused of that with ‘Rings,’ WW2 or WW1, I don’t feel quite sure of the point but there’s probably some influences, some critic could study it. But I hate it when they say stuff like Stannis is actually [some real-life source.]

 

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Preston Jacobs has a theory whereby the continued practice of the lord's right to the first night in the north produce a lot of unwanted bastards in a poor land.  The poor husbands of the poverty stricken north can barely afford to feed themselves without having to raise the bastard of another man under his own roof.  A lot of these babies were left out to die.  Outright killed.  Disposed of in a convenient manner.  The Others are the bastards coming back to take what they think is theirs.  

I don't believe it but it is interesting.  Something must have given Allysanne reason to outlaw the lord's right and seal the bastard gate.  She gave the gift to the watch to create a buffer.  In other words, she did what she could to decrease the production of bastards and if such bastards are to happen, the disposal will happen away from the wall, where the Others can't take the baby.  

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17 hours ago, Legitimate_Bastard said:

I just want to know how the Craster thing started. What event made him start giving his boys away? Is it connected to the Others starting south?

The Night King and his Corpse Queen "sacrificed" to the others way back in the Age of Heroes, so this very likely could have been sons.

For Craster, it could be that sacrificing sons to the wood was a long-time custom north of the Wall (perhaps started by the NK and CQ, or it may go back earlier than that). During the Other's long absence, of course, the babes would just freeze to death or be taken by some animal. It would only be in recent years that the Others were actually there to take them.

And even then, the notion that the Others are actually taking the children is based on very sketchy evidence. Craster may believe this, his wives may believe it, but no one has actually seen this.

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13 hours ago, Victor Newman said:

Preston Jacobs has a theory whereby the continued practice of the lord's right to the first night in the north produce a lot of unwanted bastards in a poor land.  The poor husbands of the poverty stricken north can barely afford to feed themselves without having to raise the bastard of another man under his own roof.  A lot of these babies were left out to die.  Outright killed.  Disposed of in a convenient manner.  The Others are the bastards coming back to take what they think is theirs.  

I don't believe it but it is interesting.  Something must have given Allysanne reason to outlaw the lord's right and seal the bastard gate.  She gave the gift to the watch to create a buffer.  In other words, she did what she could to decrease the production of bastards and if such bastards are to happen, the disposal will happen away from the wall, where the Others can't take the baby.  

That is interesting. I have not heard this one.

35 minutes ago, John Suburbs said:

And even then, the notion that the Others are actually taking the children is based on very sketchy evidence. Craster may believe this, his wives may believe it, but no one has actually seen this.

Yeah, nothing direct.

This is as much detail as I can find right off. But neither gives anything surefire that the Others are taking the boys, only that Craster leaves them out and he hasn't been attacked....yet.

Quote

A Clash of Kings - Jon III

"For the baby, not for me. If it's a girl, that's not so bad, she'll grow a few years and he'll marry her. But Nella says it's to be a boy, and she's had six and knows these things. He gives the boys to the gods. Come the white cold, he does, and of late it comes more often. That's why he started giving them sheep, even though he has a taste for mutton. Only now the sheep's gone too. Next it will be dogs, till . . ." She lowered her eyes and stroked her belly.
"What gods?" Jon was remembering that they'd seen no boys in Craster's Keep, nor men either, save Craster himself.
"The cold gods," she said. "The ones in the night. The white shadows."

 

Quote

A Storm of Swords - Samwell II

There had been no attacks while they had been at Craster's, neither wights nor Others. Nor would there be, Craster said. "A godly man got no cause to fear such. I said as much to that Mance Rayder once, when he come sniffing round. He never listened, no more'n you crows with your swords and your bloody fires. That won't help you none when the white cold comes. Only the gods will help you then. You best get right with the gods."
Gilly had spoken of the white cold as well, and she'd told them what sort of offerings Craster made to his gods. Sam had wanted to kill him when he heard. There are no laws beyond the Wall, he reminded himself, and Craster's a friend to the Watch.

 

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House Stark's forgotten secret weapon, the real meaning of Winter Is Coming, and how The North Was Won.

The Night's King was scrubbed from history not for being an abominable outlier but for being too flagrant & obvious about Business As Usual.

It is the song of ice and fire.  Dragons are Fire Made Flesh, and tied to the blood of Old Valyria (currently surviving only in House Targaryen).  The Others are Ice Made Flesh, and tied to the blood of the First Men (ever running strongest in House Stark).

The Last Hero was a diplomat, not a warrior.  The Others cannot be beaten. They can only be asked Very Nicely To Please Stop.  And only a Stark can do it.

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On 11/27/2018 at 6:21 PM, Sophia [email protected] said:

My Theory is that part of the Pact with The Others is the Others demand that population keep the low on (Westeros) or that some sons of the Humans will be given to the White Walkers. Because this happen so long ago the terms of Pact were forgotten. As time went on The Others is now regard as legends.   Also people believe the Hero beat them back and that why the Wall was built.

 

Please list your theories.

I have a bit of a pet theory on this that I am sure is wrong, but every now and again I like to take it off the shelf and play with it a bit.

It goes like this:

The return of the Others has a lot to do with Torrhen Stark.

I believe that the war against the COTF say Brandon of the Bloody Blade do a lot of killing of the children. Bloody Brandon's son, Bran the Builder, stuck a peace deal to end the war (and the long night) which inlcuded setting basic ground rules for how the first men dealth with the children, the adoption of the old gods and the ability to raise the wall and do some other feats of building with the childrens magic.

One part of the deal, I think, is that a sacrifice must be made. Bran's line (kings of winter / kings in the north) must sacrifice themselves in perpetuity. Let me explain. The word "vengeful" is only used twice in GOT and both time in reference to spirits in Winterfell. The first is in Eddard I

Quote

By ancient custom an iron longsword had been laid across the lap of each who had been Lord of Winterfell, to keep the vengeful spirits in their crypts. The oldest had long ago rusted away to nothing, leaving only a few red stains where the metal had rested on stone. Ned wondered if that meant those ghosts were free to roam the castle now. He hoped not. The first Lords of Winterfell had been men hard as the land they ruled. In the centuries before the Dragonlords came over the sea, they had sworn allegiance to no man, styling themselves the Kings in the North.

This lead me to question why the spirits of the kings of winter were "vengeful." What vengence did they seek? Tough, angry, cruel, kind, decent, quiet, adventurous...all could apply to some kings....8000 years of Stark kings I am sure there were all kinds but why were they all refereed to as being vengeful spirits?

Well, let's think about the burial customs. It is only the King/Lord who is given a likeness with a sword across his knee (to keep his vengeful spirit in) with 3 exceptions. Why? Well it would seem like it is to give the king something special. But is it? First men are buried in barrows. Their spirits believed to become part of the greater consciousness/weirnet whatever (think of the bones around bloodraven)......while the statue and sword seem like an honor, if they keep the spirit locked away where custom dictates it is to become part of the oneness then it is a punishment...an eternal imprisonment. I mean, if anyone should be entitled to the rights of the dead by custom it ought to be the king....My thinking here is that the statue serves as a prison with the sword as a lock to keep the stark king's spirit imprisoned. Part of the weight and responsibility of being king (something grrm often stresses is that being king isn't doing whatever you want it is very much a duty).

 

So there, as part of the concession of Bran the Builder to the COTF, in the crypts sit the vengeful spirits of the stark kings imprisoned for eternity to never return "home." This surrendering of the kings spirit is part of what bran had to sacrifice to end the war and the long night.

Enter the problem: Torrhen Stark bends the knee to the Dragon and breaks the line of Stark kings. Now there is no Stark King, no King of Winter, no King in the North....only Lords of Winterfell. With no stark king the deal Brandon struck with the COTF that the King in the North would sacrifice his soul is broken. With the deal broken the magic that Bran the Builder used is revoked. Where do we see evidence of this? Well, many of the structures that Bran build seemed age proof. But now look at the nightfort...total disrepair. Look at the wall...it is shrinking every generation. Look how the oldest sections of the crypts are falling apart. Moreover, look at how ned notices the iron long swords rusting away into nothing. Some of those swords have been there for thousands on thousands of years and they only strike Ned as being rusted through now....I would guess they didn't look as bad or even rusted at all when he was a child. If this was a common thing all his life why comment on it at all? Even the ones that were just red stains....they should have been so long gone 3000 years before the conquest that even the stains would be missing.

Now look back at the others? Why now? It can't be the dragons return and return of magic, Craster has been sacrificing children to them for a while before Dany hatches her dragons.

I took a look at some metal websites and it shows that steel will decompose (in optimal conditions) in 2-500 years meaning the swords of the kings of old, the ones that are 2,3,4,7 thousand years old should have been a distant memory by the time Ned was born not showing signs of rust and recent decomposition or even stains on stone....we are talking thousands and thousands of years. And this is under optimal conditions, let alone being left out in the crypts where they are exposed to moisture and air.

I believe that those swords, like the walls of the oldest keeps in Winterfell, the oldest parts of the crypts, the nightfort and the wall were all held together by magic that bran used, magic from the children of the forest, magic rescinded when Torrhen bent the knee and the stark family could no longer uphold it's end of the bargain by sacrificing and imprisoning the soul of the dead kings.

Given the 3 generations of sacrifice by Craster (short generations due to the fact that he would basically peregrinate his daughters as soon as they were of child bearing years) I think that we can say that the re-emergence of the Others happens roughly 250 AC when Craster first starts making his child sacrifices. 250 years from When Torrhen knelt. This timeline fits perfectly for the time it would take those iron longswords, bereft of the magic of the COTF, to deteriorate and break. In breaking the "vengeful spirits" of the Stark Kings, not able to join the weirnet, were freed....these, I believe, are the Others.

Edited by YOVMO

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My theory is that they are leftover from an earlier phase of the planning for Asoiaf when it was more traditional high fantasy and the Game of Thrones was not supposed to have been the main interest of the readers.

But it will regardless be interesting to see how GRRM handles them and makes them interesting. Or rather how they will push the plot forward.

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My crackpot is that the Others and the WW are not a distinct race or civilization; they do not have villages, towns or cities and they do not have armies waiting to attack.

The WW themselves are just shadows casted by a yet unidentified magical players. There is also a good chance that this players are not the Big Bad of their dark legend. The non-sentient "white cold" would be the real danger.

Edited by Tucu

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1 hour ago, YOVMO said:

I have a bit of a pet theory on this that I am sure is wrong, but every now and again I like to take it off the shelf and play with it a bit.

It goes like this:

The return of the Others has a lot to do with Torrhen Stark.

I believe that the war against the COTF say Brandon of the Bloody Blade do a lot of killing of the children. Bloody Brandon's son, Bran the Builder, stuck a peace deal to end the war (and the long night) which inlcuded setting basic ground rules for how the first men dealth with the children, the adoption of the old gods and the ability to raise the wall and do some other feats of building with the childrens magic.

One part of the deal, I think, is that a sacrifice must be made. Bran's line (kings of winter / kings in the north) must sacrifice themselves in perpetuity. Let me explain. The word "vengeful" is only used twice in GOT and both time in reference to spirits in Winterfell. The first is in Eddard I

This lead me to question why the spirits of the kings of winter were "vengeful." What vengence did they seek? Tough, angry, cruel, kind, decent, quiet, adventurous...all could apply to some kings....8000 years of Stark kings I am sure there were all kinds but why were they all refereed to as being vengeful spirits?

Well, let's think about the burial customs. It is only the King/Lord who is given a likeness with a sword across his knee (to keep his vengeful spirit in) with 3 exceptions. Why? Well it would seem like it is to give the king something special. But is it? First men are buried in barrows. Their spirits believed to become part of the greater consciousness/weirnet whatever (think of the bones around bloodraven)......while the statue and sword seem like an honor, if they keep the spirit locked away where custom dictates it is to become part of the oneness then it is a punishment...an eternal imprisonment. I mean, if anyone should be entitled to the rights of the dead by custom it ought to be the king....My thinking here is that the statue serves as a prison with the sword as a lock to keep the stark king's spirit imprisoned. Part of the weight and responsibility of being king (something grrm often stresses is that being king isn't doing whatever you want it is very much a duty).

 

So there, as part of the concession of Bran the Builder to the COTF, in the crypts sit the vengeful spirits of the stark kings imprisoned for eternity to never return "home." This surrendering of the kings spirit is part of what bran had to sacrifice to end the war and the long night.

Enter the problem: Torrhen Stark bends the knee to the Dragon and breaks the line of Stark kings. Now there is no Stark King, no King of Winter, no King in the North....only Lords of Winterfell. With no stark king the deal Brandon struck with the COTF that the King in the North would sacrifice his soul is broken. With the deal broken the magic that Bran the Builder used is revoked. Where do we see evidence of this? Well, many of the structures that Bran build seemed age proof. But now look at the nightfort...total disrepair. Look at the wall...it is shrinking every generation. Look how the oldest sections of the crypts are falling apart. Moreover, look at how ned notices the iron long swords rusting away into nothing. Some of those swords have been there for thousands on thousands of years and they only strike Ned as being rusted through now....I would guess they didn't look as bad or even rusted at all when he was a child. If this was a common thing all his life why comment on it at all? Even the ones that were just red stains....they should have been so long gone 3000 years before the conquest that even the stains would be missing.

Now look back at the others? Why now? It can't be the dragons return and return of magic, Craster has been sacrificing children to them for a while before Dany hatches her dragons.

I took a look at some metal websites and it shows that steel will decompose (in optimal conditions) in 2-500 years meaning the swords of the kings of old, the ones that are 2,3,4,7 thousand years old should have been a distant memory by the time Ned was born not showing signs of rust and recent decomposition or even stains on stone....we are talking thousands and thousands of years. And this is under optimal conditions, let alone being left out in the crypts where they are exposed to moisture and air.

I believe that those swords, like the walls of the oldest keeps in Winterfell, the oldest parts of the crypts, the nightfort and the wall were all held together by magic that bran used, magic from the children of the forest, magic rescinded when Torrhen bent the knee and the stark family could no longer uphold it's end of the bargain by sacrificing and imprisoning the soul of the dead kings.

Given the 3 generations of sacrifice by Craster (short generations due to the fact that he would basically peregrinate his daughters as soon as they were of child bearing years) I think that we can say that the re-emergence of the Others happens roughly 250 AC when Craster first starts making his child sacrifices. 250 years from When Torrhen knelt. This timeline fits perfectly for the time it would take those iron longswords, bereft of the magic of the COTF, to deteriorate and break. In breaking the "vengeful spirits" of the Stark Kings, not able to join the weirnet, were freed....these, I believe, are the Others.

I like that a lot.

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I think they are a weapon created by the CotF to use as a last ditch mutual destruction end to the war. The Bran quote about how men would be wroth, but the Children sing sad songs always made me suspicious of their magic. In the World of Ice and Fire, in the history of the Reach, there is a brief mention of Mern III The Madling, who showered gifts and honours upon a 'woods witch' (similar to Arya's, perhaps?) who claimed she could raise armies of the dead to fight the Andal invaders. The Children use nature magic, and the Others seem to embody that themselves. The fact that the Children are said to have helped Brandon build the wall associates them with ice-related magic, but that is legend and some or all aspects may be warped or false.  
 

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On 11/27/2018 at 6:21 PM, Sophia Wils[email protected] said:

Please list your theories.

They are the big bad wolf who will blow your house down BUT first you have to decide whether the Others bring the cold or does the cold bring the Others.

Winter is coming. Are you prepared?

Do you have your diesel generator ready and food supply, snowmobiles, toiletries, stilettos and handbag? :devil:

 

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13 hours ago, SerGordon said:

I think they are a weapon created by the CotF to use as a last ditch mutual destruction end to the war. The Bran quote about how men would be wroth, but the Children sing sad songs always made me suspicious of their magic. In the World of Ice and Fire, in the history of the Reach, there is a brief mention of Mern III The Madling, who showered gifts and honours upon a 'woods witch' (similar to Arya's, perhaps?) who claimed she could raise armies of the dead to fight the Andal invaders. The Children use nature magic, and the Others seem to embody that themselves. The fact that the Children are said to have helped Brandon build the wall associates them with ice-related magic, but that is legend and some or all aspects may be warped or false.  
 

That's interesting because it always struck me as odd that we are this deep in the story and we have yet to see the Others raising or controlling the wights. In fact, other than the one riding the dead horse, we haven't even seen Others and wights in the same place at the same time. Funny thing about the horse, though, is that the Other dismounts and the horse apparently just wanders off to do whatever it is that dead horses do in their spare time -- no compulsion to slay the living, no blue eyes...

So if this woods witch is a CotF, that would hint at an alternate source for the wights we see today and could possible up-end the expectations of pretty much the entire aSoIaF fandom.

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On 11/28/2018 at 10:57 AM, Lord Lannister said:

Well there is Melisandre's vision that the 3ER and Bran are the Greath Others champions.

I'm not at all convinced that Red R'hllor is the "good" god here. What with the burning people alive, the shadow babies, and all. I similarly doubt Melisandre's formulation of "the great other." She seems to be a blend of mysticism, humbug, and self-delusion. So far, Bran appears to be learning skills that are not destructive; he and the Reeds and Hodor have been treated well. Things might change, but I don't see any particular evil with Bryndan Rivers and the Children of the forest yet. This is in contrast to Mel. It's also interesting that she doesn't seem that much like the other R'hllor priests we've seen - Thoros, Moquoro, etc. 

Something must have given Allysanne reason to outlaw the lord's right and seal the bastard gate. 

I'm thinking it was more related to the fact that she was a woman. "First night" benefits only the ruling lord; the helpless women are the victims, not the half-lordly offspring. And the simple act of deflowering the bride on her wedding night (which the groom would have done in any event) is unlikely to produce a huge population explosion. Lordly bastards are generally frowned upon in court, but probably have elevated status among the smallfolk, so I don't see a vast parade of illegitimate boys being driven north and left out in the snow beyond the wall. Smallfolk are human beings, probably to a greater extent than great lords and ladies. A baby is a baby, and will become an unpaid worker on the farm, whether legitimate or not.

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On 11/29/2018 at 2:01 PM, YOVMO said:

 

And the white walkers hate iron!  So if those swords laid across the tombs serve to lock the evil Stark spirits in, then perhaps it is really true that the Starks and the White Walkers share the same genetics.  In other words, there is definite "ice" in the Starks.  The iron, probably a special alloy, function like kryptonite.  Its proximity is enough to weaken superman.  Maybe the iron does the same to these Stark kings of old.  Those ancient kings were probably closer to a white walker than they were to humans.  

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1 hour ago, zandru said:

"First night"

Let me be a tad bit crass. It means that when marriages are made by the lowly --- the Lord of the land takes his pleasure first.  In other words the Lord of the land ---- fucks your wife before you do ---- and there ain't nuttin you can do about it but listen.

Harsh times.

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On 11/29/2018 at 9:16 AM, Frances Bean Corbray said:

The Last Hero was a diplomat, not a warrior.  The Others cannot be beaten. They can only be asked Very Nicely To Please Stop.  And only a Stark can do it.

Gets back to the bit about fire and ice blood being a google translator between us and the Others.  You're magical enough that they can take you for a ride however they do and dump their psi ramblings into your mind, but unlike all their other victims you remain tethered to warmth, to the human world, and can survive long enough to relate the Others' message to living ears for the first time in ages.

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On 11/28/2018 at 5:07 PM, Legitimate_Bastard said:

I just want to know how the Craster thing started. What event made him start giving his boys away? Is it connected to the Others starting south?

Craster is a Stark.  The tradition must have been handed down in the family.  His side of the family split off and he brought back the tradition in his own household.  

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