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Black Crow

Heresy 220 and the nature of magic

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5 hours ago, Black Crow said:

In short are the First Men a distinct race at all, or a lazy/convenient catch-all for all the human and near-human peoples who lived in Westeros before the Andals and their historians tooled up?

I'm torn on this, as all of the Dawn Age peoples being collectively lumped together as "First Men" by later scholars, particularly as post-Pact societies began to develop under a shared religion, seems a sensible suggestion.

Nonetheless, as I stated in a prior post, I'm currently leaning toward the First Men being culturally unique. For one, there's that curious linguistic trend--First Men, First King, First Keep, (?)Last Hero, etc., with it being particularly noteworthy that the phrase "First Men" remains in usage by the Thenns, who are unlikely to have been influenced by the scholarly jargon of the Citadel.

For another, Styr commanding absolute obedience - essentially being like a god to his people - seems culturally in line with the legend that any living man who dared to rival the First King was cursed--unlike the various tribes that eschewed kneeler culture, the FM appear to have embraced an absolute authority figure. Accordingly, I suspect that the early FM were more organized than whatever disparate settlers had come before them.

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Posted (edited)

Isn’t there a contradiction with the Thenn’s demanding absolute obedience, and the wildling’s banishment due to their refusal to kneel? 

The wildlings do follow some customs. Bride stealing is thought to be beneficial - strengthening future generations.

They also view Craster as bearing a heavy curse, because his father was an oathbreaker. His status as the son of an oathbreaker put him in jeopardy of displeasing the old gods, because this curse was inherited - passed down to him through his father’s blood.

The First Men are mainly identifiable by their religion. They follow the old gods and refused to adopt the new Andal gods. Perhaps this is the real reason? That the wildlings refused to put aside the old gods and magic? Stannis and Melisandre burned people that refused to adopt the Lord of Light. While I realize that a lot of the northern houses still keep to the old gods - maybe there was once a sect that practiced magic?

Edited by Feather Crystal

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1 hour ago, Matthew. said:

Nonetheless, as I stated in a prior post, I'm currently leaning toward the First Men being culturally unique. For one, there's that curious linguistic trend--First Men, First King, First Keep, (?)Last Hero, etc., with it being particularly noteworthy that the phrase "First Men" remains in usage by the Thenns, who are unlikely to have been influenced by the scholarly jargon of the Citadel.

Oh, I think we can make a stronger statement even than that on linguistics.

As a distinct culture, the First Men certainly appear to have brought the Old Tongue, which is still spoken north of the Wall... and the further north you go, the more it's spoken.

The Thenns -- who have never even seen the Wall, according to Jon -- also speak the Old Tongue almost exclusively.  This matches what we'd expect from the last of the First Men.

They still use, and make, bronze, but not iron or steel.  This too is what we would expect from the last of the First Men.

There are also the runes left behind by the First Men on rocks, according to Sam.  Quite distinct from a true alphabet such as the Andals evidently brought to Westeros as a coherent wave.

12 minutes ago, Feather Crystal said:

Isn’t there a contradiction with the Thenn’s demanding absolute obedience, and the wildling’s banishment due to their refusal to kneel?

I think Matthew's right that this reflects the way things were among the First Men originally, and the other wildlings have drifted away from it.  Which we also see in the way they adopt Common, the closer they get to the Wall.

13 minutes ago, Feather Crystal said:

They also view Craster as bearing a heavy curse, because his father was an oathbreaker.

Maybe; Ygritte doesn't get that specific. 

Personally, I think they view him as bearing a heavy curse because he is a kinslayer on a mass basis -- he has almost certainly committed kinslaying dozens of times, going back decades.  

All the rangers know this about Craster, so the odds seem quite good the free folk know it too.

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We can also consider the crannogmen like this: if they are in fact a remmnant of some pre-First Men population of people in Westeros, what might we expect?

Besides the obvious physical differences crannogmen share (they're weensy), and the historical differences of perception (the fact that Jojen thinks of the First Men as "they"), there is also a cultural thing -- the unique oath they swear that we've discussed before.

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.

 

If the crannogmen were in Westeros before the First Men, then they were presumably there before metal had been brought to Westeros at all.  They bore direct witness to what the First Men did with that technological advantage.

So this oath, sworn by no other bannerman of the Starks, is not too surprising.  It could represent a logical sequence of events still remembered by the crannogmen to this day.

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Posted (edited)
18 hours ago, JNR said:

Maybe; Ygritte doesn't get that specific. 

Personally, I think they view him as bearing a heavy curse because he is a kinslayer on a mass basis -- he has almost certainly committed kinslaying dozens of times, going back decades.  

All the rangers know this about Craster, so the odds seem quite good the free folk know it too.

Actually, Ygritte is pretty specific. She said:

Quote

"Craster's more your kind than ours. His father was a crow who stole a woman out of Whitetree village, but after he had her he flew back t' his Wall. She went t' Castle Black once t' show the crow his son, but the brothers blew their horns and run her off. Craster's blood is black, and he bears a heavy curse." She ran her fingers lightly across his stomach. "I feared you'd do the same once. Fly back to the Wall. You never knew what t' do after you stole me."

When Ygritte tells Jon that Craster's "blood is black and that he bears a heavy curse", she says this immediately after she specifically mentions that his father was a man of the Nights Watch. Ygritte was afraid she'd be touched by the curse too if Jon were to fly back to the Wall and deny her if she got pregnant. 

Craster sacrificed his sons, because he was cursed. He was cursed, because his blood was black. His blood was black, because his father was a man of the Watch and his blood was in his veins. The Watch are said to have black blood, because they cut ties with their blood relation and adopt each other as their new family and they take an oath to seal it. Not only did Craster's father break his oath to father no children, he denied that he broke his oath by denying Craster as his son, so his lying oathbreaking is what made him cursed in the eyes of the old gods, and Craster inherited this curse through his blood.

In Craster's (perhaps) flawed logic, his own children were cleared of the curse, because they were legitimate - a fact that he stressed when he said this to Jon Snow:

Quote

"A bastard, is it?" Craster looked Jon up and down. "Man wants to bed a woman, seems like he ought to take her to wife. That's what I do." He shooed Jon off with a wave. "Well, run and do your service, bastard, and see that axe is good and sharp now, I've no use for dull steel."

I think it's clear that the reason why Craster was sacrificing his sons was because he thought it was a necessary sacrifice to appease the old gods. This appeasement is what he believed protected himself and his wives and daughters. It is probably the reason why he married his daughters: in order to increase the likelihood that he'd have lots of sons to sacrifice. You might even see that his death was a result of sacrificing sheep when he didn't have any male infants at the ready - he lost the old god's favor and protection.

Edited by Feather Crystal

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The war with the Children limits the time for separate migrations of first men.   Either the Children would have wiped out the first wave, or they would have wiped out the Children, or they would have lived in peace.   All of these are at odds with a few hundred years of fighting then signing the Pact.  Of course nothing in history, even in cannon, is certain, but multiple waves goes against what we know. 

My theory is we had a small number of men living in peace with the Children long before the First Men arrived in numbers and cut down wierwoods.  

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in GRRM's world, everything that is "Sweet" is really rotten...

Why does this say for a race that is named 'The Children of the Forest"...

Perhaps they are not as innocent or as reclusive as we have been lead to to believe... 

--

What if  GRRM read John le Carré & knows how the real world works???

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6 hours ago, Mullocose said:

Perhaps they are not as innocent or as reclusive as we have been lead to to believe... 

Be careful of those sweet summer childs that have never seen a winter... ;) 

...btw from Arya II ...

"Winter is coming," Arya whispered.

"The hard cruel times," her father said. "We tasted them on the Trident, child, and when Bran fell. You were born in the long summer, sweet one, you've never known anything else, but now the winter is truly coming. Remember the sigil of our House, Arya."

"The direwolf," she said, thinking of Nymeria. She hugged her knees against her chest, suddenly afraid.

 

Why is Ned saying that ? Even if the Winter is about the downfall of the house Stark ? Why is he saying that at that time ? And what has winter to do with Bran ? Is he speaking of Bran or Brandon ? And if it is Bran, why didn't Arya taste winter ? She was there when he fell.

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5 hours ago, SirArthur said:

Be careful of those sweet summer childs that have never seen a winter... ;) 

...btw from Arya II ...

"Winter is coming," Arya whispered.

"The hard cruel times," her father said. "We tasted them on the Trident, child, and when Bran fell. You were born in the long summer, sweet one, you've never known anything else, but now the winter is truly coming. Remember the sigil of our House, Arya."

"The direwolf," she said, thinking of Nymeria. She hugged her knees against her chest, suddenly afraid.

 

Why is Ned saying that ? Even if the Winter is about the downfall of the house Stark ? Why is he saying that at that time ? And what has winter to do with Bran ? Is he speaking of Bran or Brandon ? And if it is Bran, why didn't Arya taste winter ? She was there when he fell.

Ned is using winter as a metaphor for the hard times in life.   He faced his in battle at the Trident, Bran his son when he fell, but Araya had things easy so far. 

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5 hours ago, SirArthur said:

The hard cruel times," her father said. "We tasted them on the Trident, child, and when Bran fell. You were born in the long summer, sweet one, you've never known anything else, but now the winter is truly coming. Remember the sigil of our House, Arya."

Is this before or after he had to put Lady down? That was certainly a cruel thing that Arya experienced as well as seeing her brother after his fall. His words probably do have layered meanings, but I think he’s referring to the recent events that Arya witnessed while traveling from Winterfell to Kings Lansing and not the time when Robert killed Rhaegar.

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One thing that I want to point out is that the Andals never invaded the North. The North was conquered 300 years ago. Why does everyone south of the Wall speak the common tongue? The Northerners should be speaking the Old tongue, as they haven't needed to utilize the common tongue until very recently. Which also begs the question as to who did the Maesters get all of their knowledge? Given what we see of FM culture, outsiders aren't trusted, so maesters would have a lot of difficulty getting their knowledge. I wouldn't be surprised if we learned that most of the pre-Andal history was mostly hypothesized. 

 

The other thing I would like to point out is that perhaps the Crannogmen were the First Men that sided with the CotF? We have examples of colonials who sided with the natives during the French and Indian war, as well as during the Revolutionary war. I can see some parallels between the Crannogmen and those colonials who sided with the Natives. 

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13 minutes ago, Feather Crystal said:

Is this before or after he had to put Lady down?

It's already in King's Landing. After Bran fell down the tower (I assume that is what Ned talks about) and after Lady was put down. What was the issue at the Trident Ned talks about ? Did a Stark die there ? Ned was fit enough to rush towards KL afterwards.

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Posted (edited)
38 minutes ago, Janneyc1 said:

One thing that I want to point out is that the Andals never invaded the North. The North was conquered 300 years ago. Why does everyone south of the Wall speak the common tongue? The Northerners should be speaking the Old tongue, as they haven't needed to utilize the common tongue until very recently. Which also begs the question as to who did the Maesters get all of their knowledge? Given what we see of FM culture, outsiders aren't trusted, so maesters would have a lot of difficulty getting their knowledge. I wouldn't be surprised if we learned that most of the pre-Andal history was mostly hypothesized. 

It is said the Andals were always thrown back at the Neck, but that doesn't mean that the north wasn't influenced by Andal culture. The Manderlys  are transplants from the Reach. Then there's the influence of intermarriage and trade. 

As for the masters - while it's true their origin was with the First Men, it very quickly became Andalized when the Hightowers took charge of building the Citadel. The Hightowers were once a First Men family, but they converted to the Faith of Seven well before they became the Citadel's financier.

It is well known that the maesters wrote down thousands of years of history well after they occurred and would have been influenced by mythical stories and traditional oral histories, and subject to interpretation.

28 minutes ago, SirArthur said:

It's already in King's Landing. After Bran fell down the tower (I assume that is what Ned talks about) and after Lady was put down. What was the issue at the Trident Ned talks about ? Did a Stark die there ? Ned was fit enough to rush towards KL afterwards.

Arya threw Joffrey's sword in the Trident, and they were all camped next to it when Ned had to put Lady down, so this is the event Ned was referring to.

Edited by Feather Crystal

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Posted (edited)
17 hours ago, Feather Crystal said:

Actually, Ygritte is pretty specific

She also said:

Quote

the gods hate kinslayers

Which is an idea we hear echoed repeatedly in the first three books, both north and south of the Wall.  Kinslaying is a major no-no.

We can choose to interpret Craster as "cursed" because he had a father in the Watch if we like, but kinslaying is much better established in that department.

17 hours ago, Feather Crystal said:

Craster sacrificed his sons, because he was cursed.

I think we all know why he sacrificed his sons.  As Craster himself said quite plainly:

Quote

"That won't help you none when the white cold comes. Only the gods will help you then. You best get right with the gods."

Gilly had spoken of the white cold as well, and she'd told them what sort of offerings Craster made to his gods. Sam had wanted to kill him when he heard.

Craster's freakish religious beliefs are his own business, and his conduct in murdering his sons for decades is his own responsibility.

Edited by JNR

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Posted (edited)
4 hours ago, JNR said:

"That won't help you none when the white cold comes. Only the gods will help you then. You best get right with the gods."

Exactly. Craster wanted to "get right with the gods". Yes, Ygritte said kinslaying is frowned upon, but how could kinslaying help Craster get right with the gods? You've got a contradiction there. Craster thinks what he's doing is "godly". He's doing what he believes will counter his curse. I don't think Craster views what he's doing as kinslaying. His sons are sacrifices, which means he viewed it as something holy. Sacrifice is the offering of food, objects or the lives of animals or humans to a higher purpose, in particular divine beings, as an act of propitiation or worship.

5 hours ago, Feather Crystal said:

It's already in King's Landing. After Bran fell down the tower (I assume that is what Ned talks about) and after Lady was put down. What was the issue at the Trident Ned talks about ? Did a Stark die there ? Ned was fit enough to rush towards KL afterwards.

I wanted to revisit the parallels between Ned's two events at the Trident. We've got a king, a king's son, a king's Hand, and the Hand's daughter. There's also a butcher(ed) boy, a "dog" that rode somebody down, and a sword tossed into a river. All of these elements can be found when Robert met Rhaegar at the Trident and when Arya and Mycah were discovered sword fighting at the Trident. The name Mycah, by the way, means, "who is like God". Howland certainly did have god-like powers.

Robert is the parallel to Aerys, Joffrey to Rhaegar, Ned to Tywin, Arya to Cersei, Lady to Lyanna, Nymeria to Ashara, Mycah to Howland, and Sandor to Gregor.

Robert's eventual fate was to be gored by a boar. Aerys was of course "gored" by Jaime. A few random tidbits about the meaning of Jaime, which is a nickname for James. James is the Christian derivative of the Jewish name, Jacob. In the Bible, Jacob was born holding his twin brother Esau's heel. Jaime was born holding his twin sister Cersei's heel. Jacob twice deprived his brother Esau of his rights as the firstborn son. Cersei's main motivation in life is her belief that her father deprived her of her first born rights.

Arya threw Joffrey's sword into the Trident. Rhaegar lost his kingship when he died in the Trident. The impetus that sent him there was his presumed kidnapping of Lyanna.

Ned has to choose his loyalties between Robert and Lady, and sacrifices Lady. Tywin had to choose his loyalties between Robert and Rhaegar, and sacrificed Lyanna to get what he wanted. I believe Tywin knew that Rhaegar never kidnapped Lyanna and allowed the charade to continue, because it benefited his goals.

Redheaded and freckled Mycah was rode down by Sandor, and I suspect that Howland was also rode down and spattered with blood and gore, though it seems apparent that he survived and got away.

The two direwolves, Nymeria and Lady are Lyanna and Ashara. When the wheel of time was reversed at the Harrenhal Tourney at the speed of lightning, Lyanna and Ashara's destinies were split, and Lyanna ended up taking the punishment that was meant for Ashara.

When Cersei says they have a wolf (Lady), it's a parallel to Lyanna's capture by Gregor. 

 

Edited by Feather Crystal

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On 4/2/2019 at 2:33 PM, Feather Crystal said:

When will he be as he was?" Dany demanded.

"When the sun rises in the west and sets in the east," said Mirri Maz Duur. "When the seas go dry and mountains blow in the wind like leaves. When your womb quickens again, and you bear a living child. Then he will return, and not before.”

Perhaps this refers to time going in reverse, ie rewind, hence the earth spinning the wrong way, seas not yet formed, land being dust

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Posted (edited)
18 minutes ago, JRRStark said:

Perhaps this refers to time going in reverse, ie rewind, hence the earth spinning the wrong way, seas not yet formed, land being dust

Yes, I believe she is acknowledging that time is traveling in reverse. Time isn't linear - it's cyclical, and sometimes going in reverse undoes or changes an outcome, but I think we can agree that the bodies of water and the landscape haven't physically changed - except for the Wall which may not appear to be changing, but I do think it is slowly eroding and blowing away in the wind.

Edited by Feather Crystal

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5 hours ago, Janneyc1 said:

One thing that I want to point out is that the Andals never invaded the North. The North was conquered 300 years ago. Why does everyone south of the Wall speak the common tongue? The Northerners should be speaking the Old tongue, as they haven't needed to utilize the common tongue until very recently. Which also begs the question as to who did the Maesters get all of their knowledge? Given what we see of FM culture, outsiders aren't trusted, so maesters would have a lot of difficulty getting their knowledge. I wouldn't be surprised if we learned that most of the pre-Andal history was mostly hypothesized. 

 

The other thing I would like to point out is that perhaps the Crannogmen were the First Men that sided with the CotF? We have examples of colonials who sided with the natives during the French and Indian war, as well as during the Revolutionary war. I can see some parallels between the Crannogmen and those colonials who sided with the Natives. 

GRRM has said Common was not at all realistic but made his job much easier.   

More interesting though is the amount of Andal culture we see at The Wall and have seen for some time.  The infamous list of 667, however you interpret it, is very old if it isn't fake - probably around the time the Andals arrived, but I'd assume it would take a really long time before Andal culture arrived at the Wall and even longer before things like writing became important. 

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18 hours ago, Feather Crystal said:

Exactly. Craster wanted to "get right with the gods". Yes, Ygritte said kinslaying is frowned upon, but how could kinslaying help Craster get right with the gods? You've got a contradiction there. Craster thinks what he's doing is "godly". He's doing what he believes will counter his curse. I don't think Craster views what he's doing as kinslaying. His sons are sacrifices, which means he viewed it as something holy. Sacrifice is the offering of food, objects or the lives of animals or humans to a higher purpose, in particular divine beings, as an act of propitiation or worship.

Its a matter of perspective. While the ultimate fate of Craster's sons might be up for debate, he makes the sacrifices to be right with the Gods and in the context in which he speaks, he's seeking their protection, not asking for a curse to be lifted. Furthermore I don't believe that he and his regard it as kinslaying. He gives the boys to the Cold Gods [the ones that come in the night. If there is any significance to Craster in their being his sons then it is in the value of the sacrifice.

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17 hours ago, Brad Stark said:

More interesting though is the amount of Andal culture we see at The Wall and have seen for some time.  The infamous list of 667, however you interpret it, is very old if it isn't fake - probably around the time the Andals arrived, but I'd assume it would take a really long time before Andal culture arrived at the Wall and even longer before things like writing became important.

Honestly, I could see Andals getting there quick, but their value not being seen as useful. I could see it taking about a century for them to get someone to start writing everything down. 

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