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kleevedge

The Mysteries of the Nights Watch and the Wall

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I want to start off by discussing one of the most mysterious things about the wall, the Black Gate.

The Black Gate is a weirwood growing through the wall at the Nightfort, that allows passage through the wall. At first I thought that is pretty badass, but the more I thought of it I realized it's just a glorified door. There's nothing special about passing through the wall, any gate will allow this, so making a weirwood one is just a fancy version. The Black Gate does seem a bit sentient but other than that it serves the same purpose as any other gate, or does it? The night's king ruled from the Nightfort so it was likely he was committing his sacrifices through the Black Gate, but if his goal was to get on the other side of the wall any gate would suffice. We know the weirwood lets you pass through the wall if you mutter the nights watch vows, but what if there's a second exit we haven't seen yet? This would make the Black Gate much more useful than a regular gate, possibly being used as a portal of some sorts. What if there was a different phrase, possibly in a different language for example; the true tongue of the CoTF, or even the Old Tongue, that will take you to somewhere else entirely. I'm not sure where but my thoughts are; the land of always winter, the isle of faces, or the shadow lands. When Symeon Star eyes went to the Nightfort, it's said he saw hellhounds fighting, now aside from the logistics of how a blind man saw anything, hellhounds don't seem to be something north of the wall. Hellhounds sounds more like something you could find in the shadowlands, or it could just be a metaphor for two Starks going at it. Regardless I think if the Black Gate were a portal, it would be of much more importance than just a gate.

 

Edited by kleevedge

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Not exact quotes: "the water dripping down was salty as a tear." - Bran

"This wall is made of blood." - Ygritte

I've been working on a theory were Bran the Builder was a murderous evil man who forced generations of Wildlings, or at the time, just people living North of the Wall, into servitude leading to many deaths to create the Wall. The Wall in turn forced them to become the savages they are. The blood of the dead and the tears of the living still forced to work went into making the Wall. i can't think of anything for the talking door right now though. I think a big part of the next book is going to be characters like Bran, Mel, and Davos discovering this. 

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On my first reading, I assumed that the tear came from the Black Gate. I thought the tree / door was a prisoner, trapped in the Wall and forced to work as an unhappy passageway. Because a normal tree would want to be in the sunlight and air.

But I think you have to look at the larger pattern of passageways and the guides who can take people through them. The Bridge of Skulls, Gendel and Gorne's legendary tunnels, as well as non-Wall portals, such as the Bridge of Dream (on the Rhoyne), the Prince's Pass, the drawbridge into Maegor's Holdfast, etc. could all probably tell us how doors work and what characters have to do to get through them.

When Brienne goes on her quest for Jaime, hoping to find Sansa, she spends time studying a wonderful door in the Dun Fort Duskendale. She then asks the artist who made that door to paint her shield. I believe the result is that Brienne carries with her a portable door that allows her to transcend magical boundaries. And, yes, Dunk had a similar magical door for his travels with Egg. Interesting that the shield had a comet, a tree and the colors of sunset painted on. (Dunk's shield had a winged chalice under the top coat of paint; Brienne's had the bat of House Lothston.) Maybe the comet, tree and sunset represent types of magic that open portals. Maybe the "hidden wings" underneath the fresh paint are also important for passage through certain doors.

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2 hours ago, Mooncalf said:

Not exact quotes: "the water dripping down was salty as a tear." - Bran

"This wall is made of blood." - Ygritte

I've been working on a theory were Bran the Builder was a murderous evil man who forced generations of Wildlings, or at the time, just people living North of the Wall, into servitude leading to many deaths to create the Wall. The Wall in turn forced them to become the savages they are. The blood of the dead and the tears of the living still forced to work went into making the Wall. i can't think of anything for the talking door right now though. I think a big part of the next book is going to be characters like Bran, Mel, and Davos discovering this. 

And the powers that be changed history to reflect him as a hero.  I like that.  

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4 hours ago, Mooncalf said:

Not exact quotes: "the water dripping down was salty as a tear." - Bran

"This wall is made of blood." - Ygritte

I've been working on a theory were Bran the Builder was a murderous evil man who forced generations of Wildlings, or at the time, just people living North of the Wall, into servitude leading to many deaths to create the Wall. The Wall in turn forced them to become the savages they are. The blood of the dead and the tears of the living still forced to work went into making the Wall. i can't think of anything for the talking door right now though. I think a big part of the next book is going to be characters like Bran, Mel, and Davos discovering this. 

Ya I can see that happening, it sounds a lot like the great wall of China, "The human cost of the construction is unknown, but it has been estimated by some authors that hundreds of thousand, if not up to a million, workers died building the Qin wall." Most of the workers China had on the wall were slaves. While its speculation, there's stories of the slaves who died during the labor being built into the wall, to save time from burying them.

Edited by kleevedge

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I like the symbolic value of Ygritte's tear when at the top of the wall:

Quote

The Wall was trying t' shake me off, I could feel it." One of the tears broke free and trickled slowly down her cheek.

coming down as the wall is 'weeping', to land on Bran as he going through the Black Gate.

Edited by OtherFromAnotherMother

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I think, that The Wall was build by magic of the Children. Literally.

They are able to control water:

https://awoiaf.westeros.org/index.php/Hammer_of_the_waters

They made the water-tides to rise up, out of The Shivering Sea in the east, and out of The Sunset Sea in the west (this has formed Bay of Seals and Skagos in the east, and Bay of Ice and Bear Island in the west), and then those two tides went towards each other by land of Westeros, and joined together, forming one wall of water, three hundred miles long. And then the Children used cold magic to freeze that water, and to make The Wall solid.

On this picture it's seen, that the Nightfort is in the middle of The Wall's length (Nightfort was the first castle of Nights Watch, and in the beginning it was the only one): 

https://awoiaf.westeros.org/index.php/Nightfort

So the Black Gate is the place, where were merged eastern and western water-tides, that created The Wall. And then, also with magic, the Children has created a "door" to the other side of The Wall - the Black Gate. And at that time, it was the only passage thru The Wall. All men-made tunnels thru the ice of The Wall, were dug out much later, dozens of years after The Wall was created. Other passages, and all castles of Nights Watch, were build by people.

Thus the Black Gate is special, because it was the only path from one side of The Wall to the other, and it was part of The Wall's original architecture, created by the Children.

4 hours ago, Mooncalf said:

Not exact quotes: "the water dripping down was salty as a tear." - Bran

It's salty, because it's a sea water.

Edited by Megorova

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15 minutes ago, Megorova said:
5 minutes ago, OtherFromAnotherMother said:

That doesn't explain why it was warm.

I think, that The Wall was build by magic of the Children. Literally.

They are able to control water:

https://awoiaf.westeros.org/index.php/Hammer_of_the_waters

They made the water-tides to rise up, out of The Shivering Sea in the east, and out of The Sunset Sea in the west (this has formed Bay of Seals and Skagos in the east, and Bay of Ice and Bear Island in the west), and then those two tides went towards each other by land of Westeros, and joined together, forming one wall of water, three hundred miles long. And then the Children used cold magic to freeze that water, and to make The Wall solid.

On this picture it's seen, that the Nightfort is in the middle of The Wall's length (Nightfort was the first castle of Nights Watch, and in the beginning it was the only one): 

https://awoiaf.westeros.org/index.php/Nightfort

So the Black Gate is the place, where were merged eastern and western water-tides, that created The Wall. And then, also with magic, the Children has created a "door" to the other side of The Wall - the Black Gate. And at that time, it was the only passage thru The Wall. All men-made tunnels thru the ice of The Wall, were dug out much later, dozens of years after The Wall was created. Other passages, and all castles of Nights Watch, were build by people.

Thus the Black Gate is special, because it was the only path from one side of The Wall to the other, and it was part of The Wall's original architecture, created by the Children.

 

So The Wall is made of seawater?? That would explain the saltiness of the water on the Black Gate, of course.  Well done! sign me up for this theory !

Water that melts will continue to warm up in the presence of heat until it boils. If the Black Gate is a living being or even if it's just warmer in that cavern than the rest of the tunnels, the drop of water could easily be warm.  

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6 minutes ago, Reekazoid said:

Water that melts will continue to warm up in the presence of heat until it boils. If the Black Gate is a living being or even if it's just warmer in that cavern than the rest of the tunnels, the drop of water could easily be warm.

I don't think so, otherwise Bran wouldn't use "strangely" to describe the warmth.

Quote

The door's upper lip brushed softly against the top of Bran's head, and a drop of water fell on him and ran slowly down his nose. It was strangely warm, and salty as a tear.

 

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45 minutes ago, OtherFromAnotherMother said:

I like the symbolic value of Ygritte's tear when at the top of the wall:

coming down as the wall is 'weeping', to land on Bran as he going through the Black Gate.

Nice!!!!

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19 minutes ago, OtherFromAnotherMother said:

I don't think so, otherwise Bran wouldn't use "strangely" to describe the warmth.

 

That could mean "supernaturally warm",  but it could also mean "unexpectedly warm".   I'm  not closed to either idea, mind you, but I do think body or ambient heat could account for the latter.

 

 Good did in this thread!

Edited by Reekazoid
grammar

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38 minutes ago, Reekazoid said:

So the Black Gate is the place, where were merged eastern and western water-tides, that created The Wall. And then, also with magic, the Children has created a "door" to the other side of The Wall - the Black Gate.

I don't see the children using the Night's Watch Vows as the key to opening that door. Since the vows didnt exist until after the completion of the wall, there was no nights watch before, and the children spoke the true tongue. That makes me think there is a different phrase to open the weirwood, and I see it leading you somewhere different, maybe in the places i mentioned above, or maybe deep into the "earth" in one of the tunnels.

Edited by kleevedge

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1 hour ago, kleevedge said:

I don't see the children using the Night's Watch Vows as the key to opening that door. Since the vows didnt exist until after the completion of the wall, there was no nights watch before

Night's Watch was created immediately after the end of First Long Night. First Watchers were those people, that have fought alongside the Last Hero, after he made a Pact with the Children. The Children and Bran the Builder has created The Wall, and Bran's people became first members of NW.

2 hours ago, OtherFromAnotherMother said:

That doesn't explain why it was warm.

The hammer of the waters is, obviously, a mix of seismic activity and water manipulation. And during seismic activity water becomes hot (when magma gets into water from cracks). This is desciption from the World book of how the Hammer worked:

(the Children sacrificed thousand men and blood of their own to Old Gods, and then when they were singing this happened) - "And the old gods stirred, and giants awoke in the earth, and all of Westeros shook and trembled. Great cracks appeared in the earth, and hills and mountains collapsed and were swallowed up. And the seas came rushing in..."

If the earth was cracking on the surface, then uder the water the bottom of the seas was also cracking, and magma poured out, and heated water. The Black Gate is in the centre of The Wall, and in this place the water-wall wasn't frozen solid, so it's likely, that the water in the Gate is still warm, because it remained unchanged, magically "frozen" in time.

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18 minutes ago, Megorova said:

If the earth was cracking on the surface, then uder the water the bottom of the seas was also cracking, and magma poured out, and heated water. The Black Gate is in the centre of The Wall, and in this place the water-wall wasn't frozen solid, so it's likely, that the water in the Gate is still warm, because it remained unchanged, magically "frozen" in time.

I think this is a pretty big reach, but to each their own. :cheers:

Personally, I think Bran is crying in the wierwood gate looking back at himself and his friends, knowing what will happen to them. 

It also serves symbolically as Ygritte's tear falling down the 'weeping' wall, all the way down to Bran underneath the wall.

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49 minutes ago, OtherFromAnotherMother said:

I think this is a pretty big reach, but to each their own. :cheers:

Personally, I think Bran is crying in the wierwood gate looking back at himself and his friends, knowing what will happen to them. 

It also serves symbolically as Ygritte's tear falling down the 'weeping' wall, all the way down to Bran underneath the wall.

Well you know what else is salty? Urine. This could serve symbolically for Tyrion pissing from atop the wall.

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19 hours ago, kleevedge said:

Well you know what else is salty? Urine. This could serve symbolically for Tyrion pissing from atop the wall.

How do you know urine is salty....?:ack:

If only George described the wall as 'pissing' rather than 'weeping'.:P

 

Edited by OtherFromAnotherMother

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OK I'll bite.  Who doesn't love the mysteries of the North?   The Black Gate could be anything, but taken literally, it is a passage between the Wall and beyond the Wall.   It specifically transports beings to and from the Wall.  If it isn't sentient, how could it speak?  So I'm going with definite sentience.  The Black Gate requires passwords and I wonder if the echoes, which I believe match in number, the answers--or at least the answers Sam gives.   Now whether Sam's abbreviated NW vows are the all access password remains to be seen in as much if there may be other passwords to transport other beings to and fro.   Which may "activate" a sentience that could perhaps bar entrance or exit...who knows?  Perhaps it is a porthole and different words take a traveler to different places.   Coldhands can't gain entrance and he sure looks like he may have been a Nights Watchman.  Curiously, it did allow Gilly and her babe to get from danger to relative safety of the Nightfort.   So what?   It doesn't like dead guys?  Gilly and Aemon aren't a threat to the Wall?  It let Jojen, Bran and Summer through, so you don't have to be human to get past, nor does this gate discriminate against magical beings.    Put a pin in that for baby Aemon...

I reckon we will have another encounter with the Black Gate, at least I hope we do.  I wonder if Bran could gain access in reverse without Sam to speak the words.   Could Bran speak them and find acceptance?   Do I want him to?   The only other weirwood doors that sprin immediately to mind are half of the entrance to the House of Black and White and the Moondoor.   Both lead to death.  Why would the Black Gate made of weirwood be any different?  

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I suspect Samwell Tarly has a unique ability to transcend boundaries - to pass through, and to lead others through, doors and gates and arches. He is with Jon Snow on their first trip beyond the Wall, when they take their vows at the weirwood circle. He opens the Black Gate for both Bran and Gilly (her baby is monster, @CF, not Aemon. Aemon is Mance's baby, right? But I believe your point is well taken, that someone with unique powers had to allow Gilly / Craster's baby to get through the Wall.) Sam doesn't consciously realize his own importance, but he escorts Maester Aemon away from the Wall. (Although maybe Aemon had the power in himself, and chose not to use it.)

The quality may be related to Sam's love of books. Sam finds information in the Night's Watch library that no one has uncovered for generations. I've commented elsewhere in this forum that I believe the instruction to Dany: "Always the door to the right," is a comparison between turning pages of a book - always the page to the right - and her journey to insight and knowledge of Targ past and future.

Another possibility is that House Tarly has a special door-opening power. Maybe the archer on their sigil is wordplay on architectural arches? This could open a rich possibility for understanding Bloodraven's dozens of companion archers, Theon shooting a Night's Watch deserter with an arrow, Ygritte being slain by an arrow, Anguy winning the archery competition at the Hand's Tourney and then being part of the Brotherhood Without Banners, which seems to have no boundaries in its travels through the Riverlands.

Perhaps related: I believe that Dany passes under the arch of Drogon's neck and/or an arch of his fire when she becomes a dragon rider in the fighting pit. So there may be different kinds of arches, as previous comments have pointed out, leading to different types of magic or magical places.

I have long been intrigued by Ser Hyle Hunt. If Tarlys are uniquely gifted at leading people through doors, Ser Hyle may be a Tarly representative (as their bannerman) in Brienne's quest. She meets him at a city gate. He secretly follows her, Pod and Nimble Dick Crabb to Crackclaw Point, which seems to be a very Underworld / ancient king / possible-portal-to-the-afterlife kind of location. Maybe Dick Crabb was enough of a gatekeeper to get Brienne to this destination, but Ser Hyle reveals himself just as Dick is killed. Maybe he is necessary to get Brienne and Pod back through whatever magical barriers they passed on the way to The Whispers, allowing them to return to the mainstream world.

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On 12/6/2018 at 11:56 AM, Widowmaker 811 said:

And the powers that be changed history to reflect him as a hero.  I like that.  

I'm working on a similar theory about legends like Florrian the Fool and Symon Star Eyes. They're said to be knights who existed during the Age of Heroes, long before knighthood or the Seven existed in Westeros. What if they were Andal conquerors and adventurers who helped to end the Age of Heroes and they're claim to fame is being responsible for killing off many First Men warriors, taking down their kingdoms, and killing off the last of the Children of the Forest south of the Neck, cementing Andal dominance. I don't have any text foreshadowing to support this though.

Edited by Mooncalf

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