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Black Crow

Heresy 218 a brief walk on the dark side

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2 minutes ago, Brad Stark said:

My interpretation is just that the swords of the Northman were collected undamaged, in contrast to people who resisted, whose swords were collected as melted twisted metal after their holders were cooked by dragon fire. 

Yes, but why collect them if you are not going to use them? What happened to those swords since that time? Are they sitting around in a pile, getting rusty? Where they given to men loyal to Aegon? Why make such a big deal about collecting swords and using them in his great Iron Throne only to tell us he took the northman's weapons but didn't use them in the throne. GRRM is trying to tell us something about those blades, I think. Or at least one that could be important.

4 minutes ago, Brad Stark said:

If Ice is too big for Ned to use in battle, it likely was too big for Torrhen, who would have left it at Winterfell and gone off to fight with a mo practical weapon. 

Even if Ice is big, why not bring it along when going to wayr? We see ceremonial executions during times of war. Ned brought it to Kings Landing with him. Why wouldn't a Stark lord just take it with him where he went? Or course, GRRM might have just wrote the story this way so Ice could eventually fall into the hands of the Lannister's and become the red and black rippled blades that are incredibly unique and probably very important to the end game.

7 minutes ago, Brad Stark said:

This does bring up the interesting question of whether Valyrian steel is part of the iron throne.  Houses like Harren and Dondorian likely had Valyrian steel and those houses are gone, so what happened to them? 

The whole throne seems to be eerily sharp, which should not be the case if the blades have not been sharpened or honed in three-hundred years. Of course, there is the old idea that Balerion's dragon fire in someway changed the swords enough that they have maintained an edge for several centuries.

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17 hours ago, Brad Stark said:

From the SSMs, when asked if Ned ever used Ice in battle, GRRM said it was was "probably too heavy and clumsy" to use unless you're the Mountain.

Well, first, that is not one of the SSMs in which GRRM wrote an answer, but is a paraphrase.

It's also a curious thing that GRRM would even say that for the reasons the true author of that SSM provides... which I see are quite similar to the ones I provided above:

Quote

I was tempted to point out that it was Valyrian steel, not regular steel, so why would the weight matter so much in this case? In particular when the likes of Randyll Tarly and Arthur Dayne are clearly said to have used their own Valyrian/Valyrian-like swords in battle? Tarly is not described as particularly powerful -- in fact he's called lean (doubtless strong and fit, but still, lean) -- and we're told he killed Lord Cafferen with Heartsbane. So... I take this as a firm "no", Ned never used it in battle, but I think George's off-the-cuff explanation doesn't quite fit the facts.

He's right; it doesn't fit the facts.

However, the larger point is that this logic obviously doesn't apply to Dawn.  Dawn could be, and was, wielded quite successfully in battle.  And not just by Arthur Dayne on multiple occasions, but by who knows how many other Swords of the Morning through the millennia, in how many situations.

So the bottom line is that there's no particular reason to think it couldn't be the legendary blade we see referenced twice, independently in the eastern tales of AA and the western accounts of the Watch, which was certainly used in combat according to both accounts.

Edited by JNR

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39 minutes ago, St Daga said:

Yes, but why collect them if you are not going to use them? What happened to those swords since that time? Are they sitting around in a pile, getting rusty? Where they given to men loyal to Aegon? Why make such a big deal about collecting swords and using them in his great Iron Throne only to tell us he took the northman's weapons but didn't use them in the throne. GRRM is trying to tell us something about those blades, I think. Or at least one that could be important.

Even if Ice is big, why not bring it along when going to war? We see ceremonial executions during times of war. Ned brought it to Kings Landing with him. Why wouldn't a Stark lord just take it with him where he went? Or course, GRRM might have just wrote the story this way so Ice could eventually fall into the hands of the Lannister's and become the red and black rippled blades that are incredibly unique and probably very important to the end game.

Well this comes back to my musings on the totemic significance of the family swords. I don't see any reason why some of the families couldn't have acquired Valyrian blades through trade before the Conquest, but they may have been acquired for use rather than family totems. Aegon came of the blood of Valyria and Fire. Most of the Westerosi families claim descent one way or another from the First Men, and exchanging their original family swords for Valyrian ones is about changing allegiances, In the case of the North that change of allegiance, outwardly at least, was effected voluntarily rather than forced by an actual defeat in battle. When an honourable surrender is made the traditional procedure is that the party acknowledging defeat surrenders his sword and the victor acknowledges his submission by returning it. Something similar may well have happened when Torrhen knelt, with the submission acknowledged by the acceptance of Valyrian blades as family swords in place of the originals.

Edited by Black Crow

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41 minutes ago, St Daga said:

I have wondered if Ice wasn't used at the toj. I know that there is an SSM that states that Ice was "probably too heavy and clumsy"  to be used  in battle. But as you point out, we see other Valyrian steel great swords used on a day to day basis, and in battle. So, it can be done, but why isn't Ice used this way. Is Ice that much bigger than other greatswords? Are we being mislead a bit? "Probably" does leave the door open, I think. I personally think that Ice was used in whatever confrontation happened between Ned and SAD, and that Ice is the reason that Ned walked away. I actually think that in this battle with SAD, perhps Ned lost his first sword, was prepared to die, and then Howland somehow gave Ned Ice to use. We see Theon carting Ice around for Ned's use, perhaps Howland served this purpose amongst "Ned's wraiths". What could Valyrian steel do to the white blade of Dawn? We see Ice in our story, but in the present, we have never seen Dawn. I think the sword Ice and it's current form as two smaller swords are important to the end of the story, more important that a mythological weapon that hasn't been seen for 15+ years. 

I do think you are onto something with the idea that Howland changed the game for Ned with a sword, but I think it was Ice. I don't think Ned felt he could/should use it, but for some reason, something happened (Howland, probably changed the game) and Ice made the difference that day.

So I do have a little bias in wanting the Starks to have an Other's blade, but When Jojen and Meera come to Winterfell, they invoke an old oath. We don't hear any other oath like it in the story. 

Quote

 

"I swear it by earth and water," said the boy in green.
"I swear it by bronze and iron," his sister said.
"We swear it by ice and fire," they finished together.

 

This has to be something to do with the original pact. Earth and Water, Bronze and Iron, Ice and Fire, it all goes back to the Long Night and the Pact. What I find interesting is that the Reed's, two mostly humans, swear this to Bran, a definite human. This leads me to think that House Reed and House Stark go back a long ways, long enough perhaps to have been entrusted with a special weapon. Tin foil time, but I think that the Reeds might be i possession of the old Stark sword. When the drums of war rang in the swamps, perhaps Howland remembered the old friendships and brought the entrusted weapon wit him, glamouring it as something else, the new Ice. What are the thoughts? 

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20 hours ago, corbon said:

Err, its not that hard to note a direction, and follow the brief (seconds long) 'track' in the sky for days or weeks, toward the eventual impact point.

I have watched multiple video's over the last several days of meteorites falling. The best video's seem to be from Chelyabinsk, Russia, where nearly everyone seems to have a dash camera and no one seems to get excited when balls of fire fall from the sky. It was brighter than the sun, which is impressive! After watching these video's, it seems like a meteorite could be seen from somewhat of a distance (approx 60 miles), but even knowing the direction of the object, I don't think tracking it to a location is as easy as you make it seem. If a meteor isn't big enough to leave a large impact crater, than it seems like it's going to be small pieces scattered over a largish area. The Chelyabinsk meteor was large, approx 55-66 feet, which contributed to it's brightness, but it broke into small pieces at around 18 miles above the earth. So, even a large object breaking up so high, would have a large area for debris to fall. The biggest chunk of it actually fell into a lake and took modern technology weeks to find. This meteor broke into multiple pieces, with over 400 found pieces. If Dawns story is like this, then perhaps the Dayne that found the fragment was in the general area and got lucky to find a piece that survived impact? A piece large enough to be turned into a sword. I would also think he would have had to be relatively close to the site, less than 100 miles if he saw it himself. Unless he actually just tracked stories he had from people until he narrowed the site down. This is also possible. I am still more inclined to think this story of a fallen star is more metaphor or allegory than truth, but the idea of a meteorite falling does have decent possibilities, such as the Dayne being close to the impact site at the time of the meteorite descent.

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4 minutes ago, Black Crow said:

When an honourable surrender is made the traditional procedure is that the party acknowledging defeat surrenders his sword and the victor acknowledges his submission by returning it. Something similar may well have happened when Torrhen knelt, with the submission acknowledged by the acceptance of Valyrian blades as family swords in place of the originals.

Are you thinking that Aegon just gave the swords back? Or that he gave them Valyrian steel swords in exchange for the swords they gave up? That would certainly be interesting if that is the case, but how many swords would Aegon have had to give? We do have the idea that Longclaw has been in Mormont possession for over 500 years, long before Aegon's conquest, or even when the Targaryen's came to Dragonstone. Cat tells us Ice is over 400 years old, which could match the time frame when the the Targaryen's came to Westeros, but she is rather a poor source for this, and that still would predate the conquest. While I like the idea, I am not sure it works with the timeline we have. However, all of these dates for these swords could be relative garbage. Do we have any other Valyrian steel swords in the north besides Ice and Longclaw?

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We are told Valyrian steel is lighter than normal steel.  This could either mean it is less dense or just can be made thinner since it is stronger.  We have nothing to suggest Valyrian steel itself makes a weapon less usable in combat, I'd expect the opposite to be true.  The Starks simply had a sword too large to use, and it happened to be Valyrian steel. 

All the Valyrian steel predates the conquest, if the secret of making it was lost in the Doom. 

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49 minutes ago, St Daga said:

Yes, but why collect them if you are not going to use them? What happened to those swords since that time? Are they sitting around in a pile, getting rusty? Where they given to men loyal to Aegon? Why make such a big deal about collecting swords and using them in his great Iron Throne only to tell us he took the northman's weapons but didn't use them in the throne. GRRM is trying to tell us something about those blades, I think. Or at least one that could be important.

What makes you think they weren't used to make the iron throne? 

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1 minute ago, Black Crow said:

Most of the Westerosi families claim descent one way or another from the First Men, exchanging their family swords for Valyrian ones is about changing allegiances

It's possible it often happened like this, but the canon doesn't say so that I recall.

Instead we're told that Ice was four hundred years old as of AGOT.  It seems likely House Stark knew that because it had bought Ice a hundred years before the Conquest.

The other obvious thing is that Valyrian steel was not just a symbol of Targ political power, but flat-out superior to conventional steel in all respects, and that wasn't a new situation.  I wouldn't be surprised if Valyrian steel was coveted in Westeros for centuries before the Targs ever came to Dragonstone.

5 minutes ago, Janneyc1 said:

This leads me to think that House Reed and House Stark go back a long ways, long enough perhaps to have been entrusted with a special weapon.

They definitely go back a long ways.   From Bran's tour of the crypts, we get:

Quote

His son was Rickard Stark, not my father's father but another Rickard, he took the Neck away from the Marsh King and married his daughter.

I don't see any particular reason to think they'd be entrusted as the safekeepers of the original Ice, though.

However, Jojen does say things that suggest crannogmen have knowledge of the Long Night that we've not heard yet.  Such as:

Quote

"If ice can burn," said Jojen in his solemn voice, "then love and hate can mate. Mountain or marsh, it makes no matter. The land is one."

He seems to be taking it for granted that indeed ice can burn.  That seems rather reminiscent of:

Quote

In battle the blade burned fiery hot. Once Azor Ahai fought a monster. When he thrust the sword through the belly of the beast, its blood began to boil. Smoke and steam poured from its mouth, its eyes melted and dribbled down its cheeks, and its body burst into flame.

Of course, the story of Azor Ahai does not spell out that the monster was made of ice.  We can read it and decide for ourselves based on what we've observed in Sam's chapter from ASOS.

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20 hours ago, Tucu said:

For Ned's grey shadows I am not sure. Is this to mark the Starks as a middle-man between the white shadows and the black shadows of the NW? Or maybe they were part of a transition from one to the other? A reference to the Night's King and Brandon the Breaker.

I had thought that the color grey of the wraiths indicated that his friends were dead, but if that is the case then why aren't the three Kingsguard also grey wraiths? My next thought is how Lady Barbary calls maesters 'grey rats', which indicates that they lie or aren't always truthful or twist the truth. With that in mind, then the cause of death for Ned's men was due to a lie.

1 hour ago, St Daga said:

Black, white and grey (I'm ignoring the green aspect of the grey right now) are colors that are first associated with the Other's. Or White Walkers, what ever these shadows that emerge to face Waymar Royce. So this does tie the Stark's to the Other's, but perhaps it's meant to show us that the balance lies in the Other's, in the Starks?

I've heard the use of black and white to be strict interpretations of the truth. It's either right or it's wrong....the black and white signifying either/or with no room for grey. If you think the truth is grey, then you are a type of person that allows for exceptions, and the truth isn't set in stone.

1 hour ago, St Daga said:

ETA: I do think it's interesting that Ned is wearing a black cloak while he sit's the Iron Throne. I think that in every other instance where a color is applied to his cloak, it's grey or grey and white. Which is the color that the Stark men seem to where. What could it mean that Ned chooses to cloak himself in black? Perhaps it doesn't mean anything more than GRRM needing Ned to where white, black and grey so he could use his line about the colors of truth, and I am overthinking the rest.

The choice of colors indicates that Ned is determined to make his decisions final. He will decide what is right and what is wrong with no wishy-washy exceptions. 

47 minutes ago, St Daga said:

Yes, it's from Fire and Blood. "From that day to this day, Torrhen Stark is remembered as the King Who Knelt... but no northman left his burned bones beside the Trident, and the swords Aegon collected from Lord Stark and his vassals were not twisted nor melted nor bent". Fire and Blood: Aegon's Conquest (p23).

Age wise, this Valyrian steel sword Ice must have already been in Stark hands, so what sword did Torrhen lay at Aegon's feet? Could it have been the original Ice? And he gave this symbol of the North to Aegon, just like he gave up the ancient crown of the Kings of Winter? Is that sword important? Is that crown important? I would like to think both the sword and the crown have made there way back to the crypts, but that is probably to fairy tale for GRRM.

That's an interesting insertion into the World book, and would allow for Ice to remain in existence...not only that, it also allows for it to be renamed or given to someone else.

41 minutes ago, St Daga said:

For men, time is a river. We are trapped in its flow, hurtling from past to present, always in the same direction. The lives of trees are different. They root and grow and die in one place, and that river does not move them. The oak is the acorn, the acorn is the oak.

If time is a river, then anything inserted into the flow would be an obstacle that causes a rippling effect. The ripples would spread outward, forward and back, and side to side, allowing the seer to see what's coming in the near future. The weirwood tree is an obstacle in the river causing ripples. The glass candles must work in the same way. They're a conduit inserted into the river of time causing the same kind of ripples. What is difficult is the discernment - is what is seen the past or from the future, or a side view of alternate realities? :hat:

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Another interesting point is that we never hear what happened to the sword of Ser Puddles.

Before his big melting routine, there was this, re Small Paul:

Quote

Impaled, his blood smoking around the sword, the big man tried to reach his killer with his hands and almost had before he fell. The weight of him tore the strange pale sword from the Other's grip.

But there is zero reference to this sword after the fight.  So was it that:

1) Sam just forgot about it, and then didn't notice it on the ground next to the corpse-puddle, etc., and neither did Grenn

2) It was simply gone, like Ser Puddles, and hence, wasn't there to notice

Odds seem good of 2.  In which case it's hard to imagine any Other's sword ever being captured and used by any human beings.

Or, if you believe 1), it's remarkable nobody ever thought to go back and retrieve it after Sam told his story to the Watch.  Surely it would have come up.

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3 minutes ago, JNR said:

Or, if you believe 1), it's remarkable nobody ever thought to go back and retrieve it after Sam told his story to the Watch.  Surely it would have come up.

A solid half of the Watch probably didn't believe Sam. Of those that did, how many wanted to go out into the scary forest and retrieve it? Most of the leadership of the Watch is against further rangings. 

Edited by Janneyc1
needed a question mark

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3 minutes ago, Feather Crystal said:

If time is a river, then anything inserted into the flow would be an obstacle that causes a rippling effect. The ripples would spread outward, forward and back, and side to side, allowing the seer to see what's coming in the near future. The weirwood tree is an obstacle in the river causing ripples. The glass candles must work in the same way. They're a conduit inserted into the river of time causing the same kind of ripples. What is difficult is the discernment - is what is seen the past or from the future, or a side view of alternate realities? :hat:

If time is a river it could try out ..... I think you are reading too much into it. A river flows in one direction, that is the point here. Time is a directed vector. It only goes in one direction.

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Just now, SirArthur said:

If time is a river it could try out ..... I think you are reading too much into it. A river flows in one direction, that is the point here. Time is a directed vector. It only goes in one direction.

I think you've missed what I was saying. I was building upon the idea that time is a river traveling in one direction - which is similar to the arrow of time idea, but wasn't my main point. I was pointing out that if you inserted a pole down into a river bed and watched how the water rippled around it, it actually bounces off the obstacle in a circular rippling pattern. I was using that example to explain how seeing the future might work if the weirwoods were the obstacle in the river of consciousness....never mind, it was just a philosophical rambling. Just ignore it. :D

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2 minutes ago, Feather Crystal said:

.never mind, it was just a philosophical rambling. :D

That's why I'm here: time philosophy. It's called chaos theory and it is a very interesting thing. I just have my problems with the back and side spreading and that was the point of my comment. 

And it has nothing to do with alternate realities. It is more of a tiny chance in input values that lead to dramatic changes. 

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38 minutes ago, JNR said:

Another interesting point is that we never hear what happened to the sword of Ser Puddles.

Before his big melting routine, there was this, re Small Paul:

But there is zero reference to this sword after the fight.  So was it that:

1) Sam just forgot about it, and then didn't notice it on the ground next to the corpse-puddle, etc., and neither did Grenn

2) It was simply gone, like Ser Puddles, and hence, wasn't there to notice

Odds seem good of 2.  In which case it's hard to imagine any Other's sword ever being captured and used by any human beings.

Or, if you believe 1), it's remarkable nobody ever thought to go back and retrieve it after Sam told his story to the Watch.  Surely it would have come up.

We saw an Others' sword shatter steel in the prologue.  We aren't told explicitly, but I assumed this was because it was cold enough to.  Such a weapon could never be held by a human, and would not be possible without magic.  When the Other died, the sword likely warmed into regular ice and then melted. 

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4 hours ago, Brad Stark said:

We saw an Others' sword shatter steel in the prologue.  We aren't told explicitly, but I assumed this was because it was cold enough to.  Such a weapon could never be held by a human, and would not be possible without magic.  When the Other died, the sword likely warmed into regular ice and then melted. 

So because I am an engineer and bored at work, I worked out roughly how cold the sword would need to be to shatter. The material would need to be around -137 F (varies depending on the carbon content of the sword and other minutia). This is an approximation, but it puts it into perspective just how cold the sword was. I make a big deal about the swords temperature being that cold, because the air around the sword will likely be colder still, in order for the heat exchange to work out. 

Basically, what I am trying to say is that the Others sword would have sucked to been hit by. 

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5 hours ago, Brad Stark said:
6 hours ago, St Daga said:

Yes, but why collect them if you are not going to use them? What happened to those swords since that time? Are they sitting around in a pile, getting rusty? Where they given to men loyal to Aegon? Why make such a big deal about collecting swords and using them in his great Iron Throne only to tell us he took the northman's weapons but didn't use them in the throne. GRRM is trying to tell us something about those blades, I think. Or at least one that could be important.

What makes you think they weren't used to make the iron throne? 

From this quote in Fire and Blood, but it's also in the World Book, too

Quote

King Torrhen did send Brandon Snow across the Trident. But he crossed with three maesters by his side, not to kill but to treat. All through the night messages went back and forth. The next morning, Torrhen Stark himself crossed the Trident. There upon the south bank of the Trident, he knelt, laid the ancient crown of the Kings of Winter at Aegon's feet, and swore to be his man. He rose as Lord of Winterfell and Warden of the North, a king no more. From that day to this day, Torrhen Stark is remembered as the King Who Knelt ... but no northman left his burned bones beside the Trident, and the swords Aegon collected from Lord Stark and his vassals were not twisted nor melted nor bent. Fire & Blood: Aegon's Conquest (p22) or TWOIAF:The Reign of the Dragons: The Conquest

I guess my interpretation of this is that Aegon took these swords but did not use them in the Iron Throne. If they are not twisted nor melted nor bent, it doesn't fit the idea of the swords that were twisted and bent and melted to make the Iron Throne. Unless the swords are in the Iron Throne but were somehow not melted by Balerion's dragon fire. Honestly, this line didn't even stand out to me until I read Fire & Blood. Perhaps Aegon kept them because he could but as a sign of respect to the north, he did use the blades for his throne.

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5 hours ago, Feather Crystal said:

I had thought that the color grey of the wraiths indicated that his friends were dead, but if that is the case then why aren't the three Kingsguard also grey wraiths? My next thought is how Lady Barbary calls maesters 'grey rats', which indicates that they lie or aren't always truthful or twist the truth. With that in mind, then the cause of death for Ned's men was due to a lie.

I have seen the interpretation that Ned's wraiths are dead but the three kingsguard remain clear in Ned's dream because they are still alive. I suppose this could work at some point, but Howland is alive supposedly, as well as Ned at this point in the story, so the wraith idea doesn't necessarily work with death.

That is why I am now wondering if it has something to do with the color of cloaks Ned's northmen were wearing.

6 hours ago, Feather Crystal said:

I've heard the use of black and white to be strict interpretations of the truth. It's either right or it's wrong....the black and white signifying either/or with no room for grey. If you think the truth is grey, then you are a type of person that allows for exceptions, and the truth isn't set in stone.

It is a really interesting line from GRRM, and one he gives us from the Neddard's POV. Of course, GRRM seems to appreciate all the shades of grey, but it's interesting that he feeds us this line as it's from Ned's thoughts. Perhaps Ned see's the Stark's as keepers of truth and therefore he associates the color grey with this as well? 

6 hours ago, Feather Crystal said:

The choice of colors indicates that Ned is determined to make his decisions final. He will decide what is right and what is wrong with no wishy-washy exceptions. 

This could be how GRRM intended it. I do find Ned in a black cloak intriguing. I have long wondered if he wasn't the Stark that was destined for the wall before the war, up until Brandon died and Ned had to step into being the Lord of Winterfell. I am also going though this chapter when Ned sit's the Iron Throne, and this black cloak idea seems to hint to Jon, who will also wear a black cloak and find himself in a position he wonders how he ever got to. Ned on the Iron Throne and Jon as Lord Commander.

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