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norwaywolf123

Why burning corpses is practical in the Lands Beyond the Wall

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lyrjDpkX6nA&t=0s&index=14&list=PLfTrJjNuBvbbafAN0ugdEutBNM0pMNSAj

It is hard to dig in permafrost as in the lands beyond the wall.

Thawing could throw up bodies and biomass. This could lead to the release of ancient plagues.

It is not certain that GRRM though of this(content of the video) but it is interesting.

Edited by norwaywolf123

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Nice association. Watched the video with interest, but didn't think very much about what it meant for the tundra beyond the Wall!

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Like having the misfortune of dying during a Minnesota winter.  It is hard to dig on frozen ground.  The kings of the north were buried in the burrows to await the coming of the white walkers.  

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I've often thought about this, oddly enough, but don't know enough about permafrost and the tree-line to know what would be practical. My parents lived in central Alaska and the permafrost was a thing, but they were kind of on the edge of it and it wasn't a true deep-freeze, never goes away permafrost. There were plenty of trees. They would also get a summer where you didn't have to bundle up in furs. The Wall seems perhaps a bit colder than this, but we don't really see it at any season other than the lead up to winter.

At any rate, that would be the southern boundary of the wildlings and we see many trees so that's not a issue. There would be some problem in harvesting the wood. I'm remembering a story of my dad going out to cut down a Christmas tree with an axe and being surprised at how difficult it was to get a bite into the frozen trunk - like swinging at an iron pole. It's possible, but a lot of work. Of course saws would work better, especially with the friction, but still more work than we might think, especially with only bronze or stone readily available. It doesn't seem that the wildlings now have much (any?) obsidian, which might work better. And the farther north you go, you start running into the end of the tree line.

So if wood is a precious commodity, would they waste it burning a body? That takes a lot of wood to get a high enough temperature for long enough to destroy the body. I'd always imagined that they traditionally buried their dead in stone cairns and that burning was a newer tradition born of necessity. Ygritte mentioned opening half a hundred graves searching for the horn, so not all the dead were always burned.

Edited by Gertrude

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On 12/18/2018 at 9:17 AM, Gertrude said:

I've often thought about this, oddly enough, but don't know enough about permafrost and the tree-line to know what would be practical. My parents lived in central Alaska and the permafrost was a thing, but they were kind of on the edge of it and it wasn't a true deep-freeze, never goes away permafrost. There were plenty of trees. They would also get a summer where you didn't have to bundle up in furs. The Wall seems perhaps a bit colder than this, but we don't really see it at any season other than the lead up to winter.

At any rate, that would be the southern boundary of the wildlings and we see many trees so that's not a issue. There would be some problem in harvesting the wood. I'm remembering a story of my dad going out to cut down a Christmas tree with an axe and being surprised at how difficult it was to get a bite into the frozen trunk - like swinging at an iron pole. It's possible, but a lot of work. Of course saws would work better, especially with the friction, but still more work than we might think, especially with only bronze or stone readily available. It doesn't seem that the wildlings now have much (any?) obsidian, which might work better. And the farther north you go, you start running into the end of the tree line.

So if wood is a precious commodity, would they waste it burning a body? That takes a lot of wood to get a high enough temperature for long enough to destroy the body. I'd always imagined that they traditionally buried their dead in stone cairns and that burning was a newer tradition born of necessity. Ygritte mentioned opening half a hundred graves searching for the horn, so not all the dead were always burned.

Leaving them out for the predators to dispose of is the most efficient way.  Returning useful resource back into the environment.  Waste not want not.  Recycle the dead back into the food chain.  

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