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Wolfkin

There must Always be a Stark at Winterfell

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Why must there always be a Stark at Winterfell? 

Why do the Starks bury their dead with Iron swords?

When the last Starks (Bran/Rickon) do leave Winterfell, Summer sees smoke/dragon?
 

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I'm a long time lurker, first time poster, and love these questions.

1. There are loads of brilliant theories on this first question on this site (can't remember the titles but the thrusts I particulalry liked were pacts with cotf/nightking). I also think the Brandon the builder connection is a good one - i.e. there is some vestigial magic in the Stark blood, which ties in with Jon Snow being an amalgam of two crazy cool mystical dynasties, and therefore PtWP/Azor Ahai

2. I think the sword aspect is cultural - possibly First Men? Tywin has a gold sword on his bier, so it's maybe something anthropologically shared by the First Men and the Andals, or a practise the Andals assimilated (what is cultural appropriation, anyhoo?). I'd love to hear people's take on this though, as the in world knowledge on this forum is staggeringly in depth. Bravo.

3. Get on Platypus Rex's thread for this - it's brilliant, epistemologically speaking, and also exegetically (I'm in the Summer didn't see a dragon camp, but loved the debate).

Sorry if I've contravened forum rules/not followed quoting protocol etc - I'll pick it up as I go. 

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Thank you for the reply. I think I've read every book about 4 times, and these questions really hit me every time I read the first book. Because those words are brought up more than once. Stark blood seals ______ to the land. With Bran/Rickon being the last Starks to leave, and then Summer looks back, I think that is why I question the smoke/dragon. 

The swords - you make a valid point. I forgot about Tywin's sword being buried with him. Thank you for the reminder.

Another question - with ICE being reformed/forged into new swords - are those swords (Oathkeeper & Widow's Wail) as strong with 'magic' as the original sword (ICE)? I feel like this has weakened the 'magical' properties.

We have LONGCLAW with a new pommel, but the sword itself was not actually 'tampered' with. I think this sword still retains it's 'magical' properties.  Again my theory.

And where in the Seven Kingdoms is Ned Stark's bones? They seem to have disappeared :(

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The iron swords may have something to do w/ iron being a magic blocker, so to speak. They keep the vengeful dead from wandering... :wideeyed:

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25 minutes ago, Wolfkin said:

And where in the Seven Kingdoms is Ned Stark's bones? They seem to have disappeared :(

This is why I love forums - I legitimately never even thought of that.

The sword burial custom bit was just my 'stab' (oh dear) in the dark - the whole guardian thing is also a distinct possibility.

*EDIT I see someone has just said this!

Edited by Bastard of Bournemouth
Someone already said it

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42 minutes ago, Wolfkin said:

Another question - with ICE being reformed/forged into new swords - are those swords (Oathkeeper & Widow's Wail) as strong with 'magic' as the original sword (ICE)? I feel like this has weakened the 'magical' properties.

 

Or now the two are imbued w/ both ice and fire magic. no that's just totally wrong. :leaving:

Edited by kissdbyfire

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The iron of the swords may be important because the blades eventually rust. I'm not sure why rust would be important except that the color orange is important (along with the fruit - both oranges and blood oranges).

In the Winterfell crypt, Theon becomes very uneasy when he sees only streaks of rust where swords used to be.

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8 minutes ago, Seams said:

The iron of the swords may be important because the blades eventually rust. I'm not sure why rust would be important except that the color orange is important (along with the fruit - both oranges and blood oranges).

In the Winterfell crypt, Theon becomes very uneasy when he sees only streaks of rust where swords used to be.

I think I have missed another thing: Why is orange important? I remember Arya throwing a blood orange at Sansa - which did ruin Sansa's dress - although she had the dress dyed and wore it to court when she pled for mercy for Ned. And I recall oranges in Dorne. I think I will remember to look for this as I continue with my reread. Thank you.

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6 minutes ago, Wolfkin said:

I think I have missed another thing: Why is orange important? I remember Arya throwing a blood orange at Sansa - which did ruin Sansa's dress - although she had the dress dyed and wore it to court when she pled for mercy for Ned. And I recall oranges in Dorne. I think I will remember to look for this as I continue with my reread. Thank you.

You didn't miss anything. The color code is just one of my pet theories. In a nutshell, I think red, orange, yellow and purple are Targaryen/fire colors (fire and the violet eyes) and green and blue are earth colors (associated with Garth Greenhand, hedge knights and with the sky). Indigo seems to be associated with the night, although I maybe wrong on that - it is a house color for House Mallister, so we may learn more if we see more of them in the next books.

Orange is the central Targ color and may represent a balance of yellow and red - balance of opposites is a goal in the books, I suspect. Here is where I started to (I hope) finally get some clues about orange:

Here is a link to some earlier discussion of the streaks of rust. GRRM has subsequently confirmed that Bloodraven took Dark Sister with him when he went to the Wall, so it may never have been stashed in the Winterfell crypt.

 

 

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1 hour ago, Wolfkin said:

And where in the Seven Kingdoms is Ned Stark's bones? They seem to have disappeared :(

Just stopping by to say that this is literally the only mystery in the series I want to be fully solved. This one question about Ned's bones. Everything else? Pfffft! Who cares?

Oh, and we may not yet know why there must always be a Stark in Winterfell? Probably something to do with some ancient pact, or the history of the Red Kings, etc... but I'm sure it will be amazing to read about it unfurling on page.

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1 hour ago, Seams said:

The iron of the swords may be important because the blades eventually rust. I'm not sure why rust would be important except that the color orange is important (along with the fruit - both oranges and blood oranges).

In the Winterfell crypt, Theon becomes very uneasy when he sees only streaks of rust where swords used to be.

There are a few creepy quotes regarding the ironborn that have to do w/ rust/rusty (a rusty hinge is one?)

In this case though, I don’t think Theon becomes unsettled because the sword rusted away. As he tells us, he’s always felt uneasy down in the crypts. And a few paragraphs later he specifically thinks about the fact that, now that the sword is no more, the spirit is free

ADwD, The Turncloak

Lady Dustin’s serjeant raised the lantern. Shadows slid and shifted. A small light in a great darkness. Theon had never felt comfortable in the crypts. He could feel the stone kings staring down at him with their stone eyes, stone fingers curled around the hilts of rusted longswords. None had any love for ironborn. A familiar sense of dread filled him.

<snip>

That king is missing his sword,” Lady Dustin observed.
It was true. Theon did not recall which king it was, but the longsword he should have held was gone. Streaks of rust remained to show where it had been. The sight disquieted him. He had always heard that the iron in the sword kept the spirits of the dead locked within their tombs. If a sword was missing …
There are ghosts in Winterfell. And I am one of them.

 

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3 minutes ago, kissdbyfire said:

<snip>

That king is missing his sword,” Lady Dustin observed.
It was true. Theon did not recall which king it was, but the longsword he should have held was gone. Streaks of rust remained to show where it had been. The sight disquieted him. He had always heard that the iron in the sword kept the spirits of the dead locked within their tombs. If a sword was missing …
There are ghosts in Winterfell. And I am one of them.

 

Awe! Thank you for this kissedbyfire.  I recall this section of the story now.  I think I just assumed that was the 'Ironborn' reasoning for burying the swords with the dead. I think I keep trying to come up with why this works for this group, and that works for that group, but I don't necessarily link this/that together in all the regions. 

Maybe I keep trying to read more into each and every sentence than I need to. These forums give us so many different ways to look at a single sentence.  It raises many questions - and we each come to our own conclusions. 

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7 hours ago, Wolfkin said:

Why must there always be a Stark at Winterfell? 

Why do the Starks bury their dead with Iron swords?

When the last Starks (Bran/Rickon) do leave Winterfell, Summer sees smoke/dragon?
 

To feed the Weirwood tree.  The Starks feed humans to the grotesgue tree in Winterfell.

The iron swords keep the spirits of the ancient kings of winter confined to their tombs.  It's a ward.  The Starks do not burn their dead.  They entomb them.  Perhaps waiting for the day when the White Walkers will come again and resurrect them.  

Summer only saw rising smoke.  His frame of reference will come from nature.  A rising smoke is flying.  The only thing that rises is something flying.  

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1 minute ago, Mordred said:

To feed the Weirwood tree.  The Starks feed humans to the grotesgue tree in Winterfell. 

The iron swords keep the spirits of the ancient kings of winter confined to their tombs.  It's a ward.  The Starks do not burn their dead.  They entomb them.  Perhaps waiting for the day when the White Walkers will come again and resurrect them.  

Summer only saw rising smoke.  His frame of reference will come from nature.  A rising smoke is flying.  The only thing that rises is something flying.  

The Starks feed humans to the Weirwood tree? What!? I have not read this in any of the books. Although I just received my copy of Fire & Blood today (and haven't read it as yet!) 
Is this your opinion, or is this stated somewhere in one of the books? 

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4 minutes ago, Wolfkin said:

The Starks feed humans to the Weirwood tree? What!? I have not read this in any of the books. Although I just received my copy of Fire & Blood today (and haven't read it as yet!) 
Is this your opinion, or is this stated somewhere in one of the books? 

Are you kidding?  Bran had a vision of his ancestors cutting a man's throat to feed his blood to the weirwood.  

Quote

The tree itself was shrinking, growing smaller with each vision, whilst the lesser trees dwindled into sapplings and vanished, only to be replaced by other trees that would dwindle and vanish in their turn.  And now the lords Bran glimpsed were tall and hard, stern men in fur and chain mail.  Some wore faces he remembered from the statues in the crypts, but they were gone before he could put a name to them.

Then, as he watched, a bearded man forced a captive down onto his knees before the heart tree.  A white-haired woman stepped toward them through a drift of dark red leaves, a bronze sickle in her hand.

"No," said Bran, "no, don't," but they could not hear him, no more than his father had.  The woman grabbed the captive by the hair, hooked the sickle round his throat, and slashed.  And through the mist of centuries the broken boy could only watch as the man's feet drummed against the earth . . . but as his life flowed out of him in a red tide, Brandon Stark could taste the blood.

 

Edited by Mordred

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I suspect that without a Stark there would be either major civil war in the North about who would rule or there would be many petty and hostile "kingdoms". So Stark in WF is a glue that keeps North together.

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On 12/7/2018 at 11:04 AM, Wolfkin said:

Why must there always be a Stark at Winterfell? 

Probably something to do with magic or a greensight prophecy type vision thing. We don't actually know until George tells us. 

On 12/7/2018 at 11:04 AM, Wolfkin said:

Why do the Starks bury their dead with Iron swords?

Read the books. They explain it. 

On 12/7/2018 at 11:04 AM, Wolfkin said:

When the last Starks (Bran/Rickon) do leave Winterfell, Summer sees smoke/dragon?

Summer sees a gout of flame and smoke reaching up in the air.  The readers equate that with a dragon because fan fic desires 

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