Jump to content
Black Dragons

What is your theory on The Others?

Recommended Posts

5 minutes ago, Trefayne said:

 

They don't even seem close to me. The shadow was a pure magical construct and the WW (and their weapons) have physicality associated with them. Aslo, if the WW blade was that good it would have sheared off Ser W

Not much of a difference, just a lighter shadow.

Quote

It was alive with moonlight, translucent, a shard of crystal so thin that it seemed almost to vanish when seen edge-on.

 

Edited by Tucu

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
50 minutes ago, Tucu said:

Not much of a difference, just a lighter shadow.

 

It seems you replied after the forum ate half my post and before I edited it.

Almost isn't entirely and a shadow has only two dimensions anyway, so not a fair comparison IMO.

GRRM purposely had Sam close his eyes just so we would be confused about what happened to the WW. The funny thing is, no one else there seemed to see it either when just seconds before their attention was fixated on the fight. The only information gained was that the WW can indeed be countered and destroyed and what the instrument was to do that. I will note that the dragonglass was initially too cold to touch after Sam killed the WW, but quickly warmed up enough to match the outside temperature to allow handling afterward. This indicates to me that the cold is the magic employed by the WW and that their raw materials may be mundane. The only question I have is why everything melted, even in an arctic environment. A scientific explanation would be that the WW and their weapons are made of something more volatile than water ice that would evaporate even in normal freezing temperatures after dragonglass destroys their containment somehow. The fantastic explanation is that it's all mystical in some way and that dragonglass is just the WW kryptonite.

I have no problem believing that the fire and ice sorceries are polar opposites in the context of the story, but I am not seeing parity of weaponry here. One was the manifestation of Stannis' malice toward his brother, borne by his ambition and single mindedness. It had the power to do what it did because Stannis willed it into existence through Melisandre's art. It had a singular purpose and it vanished as soon as it had achieved it.

The Others? Well, if we knew what they were all about we wouldn't be in this thread. I will, however, still maintain that while the Others' weapons do have a magical component to them, as far as damage potential, they seem no better or worse than what the industrial arts of men can achieve as I think I illustrated in my lengthy previous post.

Edited by Trefayne
errata

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
23 minutes ago, Trefayne said:

 

It seems you replied after the forum ate half my post and before I edited it.

Almost isn't entirely and a shadow has only two dimensions anyway, so not a fair comparison IMO.

GRRM purposely had Sam close his eyes just so we would be confused about what happened to the WW. The funny thing is, no one else there seemed to see it either when just seconds before their attention was fixated on the fight. The only information gained was that the WW can indeed be countered and destroyed and what the instrument was to do that. I will note that the dragonglass was initially too cold to touch after Sam killed the WW, but quickly warmed up enough to match the outside temperature to allow handling afterward. This indicates to me that the cold is the magic employed by the WW and that their raw materials may be mundane. The only question I have is why everything melted, even in an arctic environment. A scientific explanation would be that the WW and their weapons are made of something more volatile than water ice that would evaporate even in normal freezing temperatures after dragonglass destroys their containment somehow. The fantastic explanation is that it's all mystical in some way and that dragonglass is just the WW kryptonite.

I have no problem believing that the fire and ice sorceries are polar opposites in the context of the story, but I am not seeing parity of weaponry here. One was the manifestation of Stannis' malice toward his brother, borne by his ambition and single mindedness. It had the power to do what it did because Stannis willed it into existence through Melisandre's art. It had a singular purpose and it vanished as soon as it had achieved it.

The Others? Well, if we knew what they were all about we wouldn't be in this thread. I will, however, still maintain that while the Others' weapons do have a magical component to them, as far as damage potential, they seem no better or worse than what the industrial arts of men can achieve as I think I illustrated in my lengthy previous post.

Mel's shadows also have a 3D component even though we just get a glimpse of them

Quote

Melisandre had thrown back her cowl and shrugged out of the smothering robe. Beneath, she was naked, and huge with child. Swollen breasts hung heavy against her chest, and her belly bulged as if near to bursting. “Gods preserve us,” he whispered, and heard her answering laugh, deep and throaty. Her eyes were hot coals, and the sweat that dappled her skin seemed to glow with a light of its own. Melisandre shone.

Panting, she squatted and spread her legs. Blood ran down her thighs, black as ink. Her cry might have been agony or ecstasy or both. And Davos saw the crown of the child’s head push its way out of her. Two arms wriggled free, grasping, black fingers coiling around Melisandre’s straining thighs, pushing, until the whole of the shadow slid out into the world and rose taller than Davos, tall as the tunnel, towering above the boat. He had only an instant to look at it before it was gone, twisting between the bars of the portcullis and racing across the surface of the water, but that instant was long enough.

I am guessing that both are the result of shadowbinding with minor skill and environmental differences.

With regards to the blades; the black shadow's blade cut through steal like they were cutting through cheesecloth while the white shadows' blades cut through ring mail like they were cutting through silk. I take the two methapors as being equivalent.

Quote

The watchers moved forward together, as if some signal had been given. Swords rose and fell, all in a deathly silence. It was cold butchery. The pale blades sliced through ringmail as if it were silk.

 

Edited by Tucu

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
38 minutes ago, Tucu said:

Mel's shadows also have a 3D component even though we just get a glimpse of them

I am guessing that both are the result of shadowbinding with minor skill and environmental differences.

With regards to the blades; the black shadow's blade cut through steal like they were cutting through cheesecloth while the white shadows' blades cut through ring mail like they were cutting through silk. I take the two methapors as being equivalent.

 

The shadow can obviously affect/interact with the 3D world, but that by no means indicates (nor does your example) that the shadow itself has any more than two dimensions.

Possibly. That then beggars the question, at least on the WW end, a shadow of what?

It is possible that GRRM meant them to be, but without any real indication of that I have to disagree. Plate armor is exponentially better than ringmail (or other mail) in every sense defensively. It is in no way a close comparison and if the shadow sword had just punctured the plate armor and skewered Renly I might be swayed, but the sword cut through it like a plasma cutter. That's a whole other level of awesome. As I stated in my latter post, if the WW sword was that good, Ser Waymar's blade would have been sliced through or shattered right off.

Edited by Trefayne
errata

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
12 minutes ago, Trefayne said:

 

The shadow can obviously affect/interact with the 3D world, but that by no means indicates (nor does your example) that the shadow itself has any more than two dimensions.

Possibly. That then beggars the question, at least on the WW end, a shadow of what?

It is possible that GRRM meant them to be, but without any real indication of that I have to disagree. Plate armor is exponentially better than ringmail (or other mail) in every sense defensively. It is in no way a close comparison and if the shadow sword had just punctured the plate armor and skewered Renly I might be swayed, but the sword cut through it like a plasma cutter. That's a whole other level of awesome. As I stated in my latter post, if the WW sword as that good, Ser Waymar's blade would have been sliced through or shattered right off.

The shadow was bulking Mel's body and then straining her "tights" to get out. That sounds like 3D being to me.

By the way the fight is described, the WW was probably playing with Waymar.

We don't know yet who is casting those shadows, but GRRM is trolling us in ADwD through Daario and Tormund:

Quote

"You are fighting shadows when you should be fighting the men who cast them," Daario went on

Quote

A man can fight the dead, but when their masters come, when the white mists rise up … how do you fight a mist, crow? Shadows with teeth … air so cold it hurts to breathe, like a knife inside your chest … you do not know, you cannot know … can your sword cut cold?"

 

Edited by Tucu

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
13 hours ago, Trefayne said:

snip

Royce's blade was white with frost after coming into contact with the other's blade. This has nothing to do with sharpness but in the Other's blade's ability to alter the structure of Waymar's steel on a molecular level. Regardless of what sort of plate or steel men have developed, they have nothing that does this to steel. So when I say that "no weapon of man can do that", I'm not just talking about the fact that Waymar's blade shattered, but that it shattered into hundreds of tiny shards after being frozen to such an extent.

The Other is unconcerned by Waymar's steel not just at the end of the battle, but at the beginning as well:

Quote

The Other halted. WiIl saw its eyes; blue, deeper and bluer than any human eyes, a blue that burned like ice. They fixed on the longsword trembling on high, watched the moonlight running cold along the metal. For a heartbeat he dared to hope.

Here is the Other staring directly at the blade. A few moments later, the other Others emerge from the wood and then the single Other attacks Waymar while the other ones just stand and watch. Clearly, they are not the least bit perturbed by the fact that Waymar has a steel blade made from iron. If so, the whole group would have engaged him at once, and Waymar's blade would not have come undone as easily as it did.

So in the end, we have two possibilities: either the stories about the Other's fearing iron are false, or the weapons they wield now are new.

Quote

True, which makes Old Nan's stories about as suspect as the Pink Letter. However, the Others have had thousands of years to come up with a defense. Perhaps they have and this is why they are moving at this time. It might be nice to know what the Other said right before killing Ser Waymar. For all we know it was, "Hey guys, it worked!"

This is exactly the point I'm trying to make. B)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
11 hours ago, By Odin's Beard said:

Valyrian steel can cut through armor and plain steel swords, also.  And the Maesters believe Dawn is a variant of Valyrian steel (or the other way around).  LmL's hypothesis is that Valyrian steel is a variation of the same material as the Other's swords, and Dawn, and the Great Empire's swords. 

snip

I guess I must have worded that wrong, since it brought on such confusion. Waymar's blade did not shatter into a hundred tiny shards between the Other's sword was so sharp or strong. Note that Waymar's steel first turned white with frost, so obviously it had become so cold that its molecular integrity become compromised, otherwise it would have just broken in two as we've seen with other steel swords. That's what I meant when I said no weapon of man can do that.

Regardless of how it works, thought, the fact remains that common steel, and we can presume iron as well, cannot stand against Other swords for very long, so there is no reason for the Others to fear either metal. So either the old tales are wrong, or the Other weapons we see now are newly developed, which may be the reason they have returned to Westeros.

I've long suspected that Dawn is in fact an ancestral Other sword that was taken from them way back when and now they are heading south to retrieve it. The descriptions of Dawn and the Other's blades are very similar.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
30 minutes ago, Tucu said:

The shadow was bulking Mel's body and then straining her "tights" to get out. That sounds like 3D being to me.

By the way the fight is described, the WW was probably playing with Waymar.

 

8 minutes ago, John Suburbs said:

Royce's blade was white with frost after coming into contact with the other's blade. This has nothing to do with sharpness but in the Other's blade's ability to alter the structure of Waymar's steel on a molecular level. Regardless of what sort of plate or steel men have developed, they have nothing that does this to steel. So when I say that "no weapon of man can do that", I'm not just talking about the fact that Waymar's blade shattered, but that it shattered into hundreds of tiny shards after being frozen to such an extent.

The Other is unconcerned by Waymar's steel not just at the end of the battle, but at the beginning as well:

Here is the Other staring directly at the blade. A few moments later, the other Others emerge from the wood and then the single Other attacks Waymar while the other ones just stand and watch. Clearly, they are not the least bit perturbed by the fact that Waymar has a steel blade made from iron. If so, the whole group would have engaged him at once, and Waymar's blade would not have come undone as easily as it did.

So in the end, we have two possibilities: either the stories about the Other's fearing iron are false, or the weapons they wield now are new.

This is exactly the point I'm trying to make. B)

 

You know, I'm not really disagreeing with you guys. I just think some of your conclusions about WW weaponry and armor are erroneous at this time. The WW skewered Small Paul in his mail (unclear which type) without any effort at all after slicing off the head of the torch with less effort. All I'm saying is that until I see them go through plate steel that easy I'm reserving judgment. I (and others) have shown that even man made weapons can be that deadly, if not quite as sharp and efficient at it.

To be honest, when I first read the shadow baby chapter I was surprised that GRRM had gone to that level of magic. He was very coy about the level of sorcery in his world up until that point (and even after) with most practitioners seen as charlatans, but that episode was pure plot armor shattering voodoo.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
19 minutes ago, John Suburbs said:

the weapons they wield now are new.

Quote

True, which makes Old Nan's stories about as suspect as the Pink Letter. However, the Others have had thousands of years to come up with a defense. Perhaps they have and this is why they are moving at this time. It might be nice to know what the Other said right before killing Ser Waymar. For all we know it was, "Hey guys, it worked!"

This is exactly the point I'm trying to make. B)

If the Others are a metaphor for the cultural stasis of traditionalism--ice preserves, they have a way of life that is not open to change, therefore their tech should not have advanced.  The Valyrians and Great Empire represent fire that consumes all, the unchecked progress of technology and civilization--this unchecked progress led to the destruction of their homeland in a huge explosion (nuclear holocaust?).  Their weapons are technological marvels, not magic. 

48 minutes ago, Tucu said:

 

Quote

"You are fighting shadows when you should be fighting the men who cast them," Daario went on 

Quote

A man can fight the dead, but when their masters come, when the white mists rise up … how do you fight a mist, crow? Shadows with teeth … air so cold it hurts to breathe, like a knife inside your chest … you do not know, you cannot know … can your sword cut cold?"

Those are good hints that the Others were the CoTF shock troops, and humanity should focus on the real enemy, which is not the Others. 

Mel's black shadow was cold also, so there might be something inherent in the holographic shadow technology that is cold. "it wasn't me, it was a shadow, a terrible cold shadow."

Speaking of cold swords, nobody mentioned yet that the Starks' ancestral blade is called Ice. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
28 minutes ago, John Suburbs said:

Regardless of how it works, thought, the fact remains that common steel, and we can presume iron as well, cannot stand against Other swords for very long, so there is no reason for the Others to fear either metal. So either the old tales are wrong, or the Other weapons we see now are newly developed, which may be the reason they have returned to Westeros.

Waymar's sword: "the end splintered and twisted like a tree struck by lightning."  The Other struck with such force that the metal twisted and shattered, not just shattered like a liquid nitrogen frozen sword would have.  This indicates that the Others have tremendous strength and Waymar's sword wasn't that cold.

But if Arthur Dayne went up against an Other and could take him in 5 moves, I think just a plain steel sword would cut through their kevlar-light-bending armor and dissolve an Other.  I think the iron in obsidian is the active ingredient.  And also, what about obsidian or steel tipped arrows? 

Edited by By Odin's Beard

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
13 minutes ago, By Odin's Beard said:

Waymar's sword: "the end splintered and twisted like a tree struck by lightning."  The Other struck with such force that the metal twisted and shattered, not just shattered like a liquid nitrogen frozen sword would have.  This indicates that the Others have tremendous strength and Waymar's sword wasn't that cold.

 

I had noticed this too, but sometimes GRRM gets oddly specific and I can't decide whether it is for dramatic flair or for seeding hidden information. Earlier in the prologue he is very good about explaining just how good Ser Waymar's sword was:

 

Quote

AGoT: Prologue

Jewels glittered in its hilt, and the moonlight ran down the shining steel. It was a splendid weapon, castle-forged, and new made from the look of it. Will doubted it had ever been swung in anger.

 

So, is GRRM telling us that even a really good normal weapon will eventually fail due to its faults against an Other weapon or was this some calculated test of a new defense of the Others to iron based weapons?

Or is the whole thing just a dramatic scene completely overshadowed by the fact that a stone age dagger destroyed an Other sword and wiped it and its master away like so much chalk on the sidewalk? That little fact seems to belie he notion that iron is the key to dragonglass' effect on the Others since steel has a lot more iron in it than obsidian.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote

Old Nan nodded. "In that darkness, the Others came for the first time," she said as her needles went click click click. "They were cold things, dead things, that hated iron and fire and the touch of the sun, and every creature with hot blood in its veins.

Why can't iron mean blood? Perhaps even a specific blood-line..."They were cold things, dead things, that hated blood and fire [...]"

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, John Suburbs said:

Here is the Other staring directly at the blade. A few moments later, the other Others emerge from the wood and then the single Other attacks Waymar while the other ones just stand and watch. Clearly, they are not the least bit perturbed by the fact that Waymar has a steel blade made from iron. If so, the whole group would have engaged him at once, and Waymar's blade would not have come undone as easily as it did.

Is it me, or does this sound like the ending of Predator 2?

Danny Glover fought a Predator 1v1 while the other Predators just stood and watched honorably. After Danny won, he was spared by the others.

Predators? The Others? The cloaking armor? The stealth movements? The skills? The toying around? Watching a duel without interrupting? The language? The laughter? Fighting some people? Sparing other people?

Edited by The Map Guy

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, By Odin's Beard said:

Those are good hints that the Others were the CoTF shock troops, and humanity should focus on the real enemy, which is not the Others. 

Mel's black shadow was cold also, so there might be something inherent in the holographic shadow technology that is cold. "it wasn't me, it was a shadow, a terrible cold shadow."

I have considered the idea that they are casted by the trees. The first WW shows up after Waymar calls the gods and attacks a tree:

Quote

“Gods!” he heard behind him. A sword slashed at a branch as Ser Waymar Royce gained the ridge.

It is the "Waymar shot first!" conjecture :D

You are right about Mel's shadows also being associated with the cold; Brienne dreams this:

Quote

That night she dreamed herself in Renly's tent again. All the candles were guttering out, and the cold was thick around her. Something was moving through green darkness, something foul and horrible was hurtling toward her king. She wanted to protect him, but her limbs felt stiff and frozen, and it took more strength than she had just to lift her hand. And when the shadow sword sliced through the green steel gorget and the blood began to flow, she saw that the dying king was not Renly after all but Jaime Lannister, and she had failed him.

 

Edited by Tucu

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, Trefayne said:

You know, I'm not really disagreeing with you guys. I just think some of your conclusions about WW weaponry and armor are erroneous at this time. The WW skewered Small Paul in his mail (unclear which type) without any effort at all after slicing off the head of the torch with less effort. All I'm saying is that until I see them go through plate steel that easy I'm reserving judgment. I (and others) have shown that even man made weapons can be that deadly, if not quite as sharp and efficient at it.

To be honest, when I first read the shadow baby chapter I was surprised that GRRM had gone to that level of magic. He was very coy about the level of sorcery in his world up until that point (and even after) with most practitioners seen as charlatans, but that episode was pure plot armor shattering voodoo.

True with Small Paul, but the destruction of Waymar's sword was clearly not due to sharpness or hardness or any other metallurgical aspect. It literally froze his sword to the point where it could be shattered. All I'm saying, and I think this is a point that we agree upon, is that if the Others had the capability to do that during the Long Night, then there would be no reason for them to fear iron. So either that part of the story is false, or they have only recently acquired the weapons to overcome iron's molecular integrity.

3 hours ago, By Odin's Beard said:

Waymar's sword: "the end splintered and twisted like a tree struck by lightning."  The Other struck with such force that the metal twisted and shattered, not just shattered like a liquid nitrogen frozen sword would have.  This indicates that the Others have tremendous strength and Waymar's sword wasn't that cold.

Sorry, no. That flies in the face of the actual battle:

Quote

...he came up snarling, lifting the frost-covered longsword with both hands and swinging it around in a flat side-arm slash with all his weight behind it. The Other's parry was almost lazy.

When the blades touched, the steel shattered.

If there was any force that contributed to the shattering of the blade, it came from Waymar, not the Other. The Other is basically holding his sword up to block the cut. Cold metal can bend and warp under all kinds of circumstances. It is more than plausible that the sword twisted because of the extreme cold.

Remember, frost forms when a surface becomes colder than the surrounding air, causing water molecules in the air to adhere to the surface and freeze. The presence of the Others has already dropped the temperature considerably, but there is apparently no frost on Waymar's blade when he first draws it. So for frost to form during the battle, the metal must have undergone a dramatic drop in temperature in a very short time, and the only way to account for this is its contact with the Other blade.

And even then, regardless of whether the blade was destroyed due to extreme cold or the Other's great strength, there is still no reason for them to fear iron. Heck, if the Others could not stand against simple iron, then there would be no reason for a magic hero with a magic sword to come to the rescue of all mankind.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, The Map Guy said:

Is it me, or does this sound like the ending of Predator 2?

Danny Glover fought a Predator 1v1 while the other Predators just stood and watched honorably. After Danny won, he was spared by the others.

Predators? The Others? The cloaking armor? The stealth movements? The skills? The toying around? Watching a duel without interrupting? The language? The laughter? Fighting some people? Sparing other people?

Lol, Jon Snow needs to buff up, get a crewcut and adopt a ridiculously broad Austrian accent. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I always thought the Alien vs. Predator movie in the antarctic was good times.

I'm gonna go ahead and veto the idea that the Others are invading to get Dawn back.   Too swordy.   Sword driven plotlines take us into He Man territory.  Let's just don't.  Give Qyburn a chance and he may be able to examine Dawn until he comes up with important tactical ideas on how we could better attack/defend against such magic or start to replicate it, but the blade itself isn't going to undo an invasion, nor cause one.  It's just proof that somebody did well during the last invasion.

But i approve of this upgraded cold magic by Others to counter the  increased numbers of westerosi steal swords.   They don't have to have 'Evolved' if you think that's out of character for them; they merely took further advantage of the eternal offense/defense magic available to them.  ("This time, everybody is to be fully equipped with ice shielding," etc.)   I think the Others still fear iron like they always have in the sense that if an unweakened iron sword slipped past the Others' defenses in a more complicated melee and hit home on stab one it'd probably wound them.   It wouldn't melt them, though.  The wicked witch of the west evaporation death is reserved for dragonglass kills because....  because the fires of mordor are the only ones hot enough to melt the One Ring.   When you pierce an Other with dragon glass, you're bringing them in contact with a VOLCANO spell.    That trumps Gendry's forge or anything human smiths can do with ironworking.  It doesn't matter that the volcanic rock has cooled.  Obviously.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've been toying with a theory that I am trying to make work, but can't quite connect all of the dots.  In short, I think the God of Many Faces is the Great Other, who is the leader of the Others.  The religion of the Lord of Light has just twisted it over the years.  There was a line in Dance about the Drowned God being a thrall to the Great Other that reminded me of Arya's experiences in the House of Black and White, and all the gods are part of the God of Many Faces, similar to "thralls". 

I think Euron is associated with them too, along with the Three Eyed Crow, but I am still trying to parse everything out.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, John Suburbs said:

Heck, if the Others could not stand against simple iron, then there would be no reason for a magic hero with a magic sword to come to the rescue of all mankind.

The last Long Night happened during the Bronze Age in Westeros, there were no iron weapons.  At that time an iron sword would be "magical" to the First Men, in the the way Valyrian Steel is "magical" in comparison to steel swords. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Lady Rhodes said:

I've been toying with a theory that I am trying to make work, but can't quite connect all of the dots.  In short, I think the God of Many Faces is the Great Other, who is the leader of the Others.  The religion of the Lord of Light has just twisted it over the years.  There was a line in Dance about the Drowned God being a thrall to the Great Other that reminded me of Arya's experiences in the House of Black and White, and all the gods are part of the God of Many Faces, similar to "thralls". 

I think Euron is associated with them too, along with the Three Eyed Crow, but I am still trying to parse everything out.

If the weirwood network has two personalities at war with each other inside of it, it makes sense.  The Great Other is the dark, subterranean side, and Rhllor is the light side.  Yin and Yang can mean "dark side of the hill" and "light side of the hill"  Check out my thread on Hyrkoon the hero being based on the god Perkunas and his eternal struggle with Veles. 

In George's Nightfliers in the end there are two telepathic humans inside a ship's computer who struggle for dominance and it leads to odd happenings. 

But yes, many of the world religions are just regional variations of weirwood death worship.  The religions of the Faceless Men, Lorath, Norvos, Leng, the warlocks of Qarth, and Qohor are all pretty similar, involving caves and human sacrifice (child sacrifice in hard times) and getting commands from underground gods.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×