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Black Crow

Heresy 220 and the nature of magic

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Posted (edited)
4 hours ago, JNR said:

But if Craster had a sweet clue what he was talking about on this subject, it seems very doubtful he would be leaving sheep in the woods. 

We can also take the fact that all the other free folk split, and went with Mance, to represent their complete lack of faith that he has any idea what he's doing in keeping himself or anybody else safe. 

These conclusions do not inevitably proceed from the observations presented--they are only alternative interpretations.

On the former, I would reiterate that when it comes to magic, most characters are operating on a mixture of half-true oral tradition, and superstitious improvisation. In Craster's case, he may have inherited an oral tradition from his Whitetree mother regarding ways in which one can survive "the white cold," by offering a son (which may have proven efficacious), and then offered what he hoped would please the gods at those moments when he could not follow the oral tradition. That he may not know the inner workings of the mind of the Others does not invalidate the entirety of the narrative.

Other examples would be the Red Priesthood, who have real lore that is backed by zealous superstition, or the oral history of the Age of Heroes, which is dubious but not wholly invalid. 

The oral history suggests that the gods are watching from the trees, and judging men for various shortcomings: kinslaying, oathbreaking, and so forth. As we have discovered, there is indeed someone watching from the trees, and spirits lingering in the wood, but from our perspective as readers we know that the one doing the watching - Bloodraven - is himself a kinslayer. The reality is more nuanced than the oral history, but that does not mean that every single word that has ever been said about the old gods is to be dismissed outright.

As to the latter observation, regarding the actions of the Free Folk, that does not necessarily tell us how skeptical they are regarding Craster--it may only tell us that they find the price of being "right with the gods" too egregious. Craster's exact place within Free Folk society - and that he is not regularly raided, nor killed for aiding the NW - remains something of a mystery.

Edited by Matthew.

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On 4/13/2019 at 1:21 PM, Brad Stark said:

The interesting question is how this all started.  Do we know anything of Craster's history?  Did he grow up in Whitetree?  Who was his first wife?  Who first took his first son?

I'm thinking in terms of four broad categories of what exactly prompted Craster's actions:

1.) The "sineater" scenario: The Others have always been out there, living in something of an uncomfortable truce with humanity where they do not actively slaughter and raise wights, so long as they occasionally receive tributes in the form of sons, and someone must carry the burden of those sacrifices on behalf of society.

2.) The Others were gone, sealed, or otherwise magically impotent for an incredibly long time, and have only recently returned; some, such as Craster, went off of old lore as to how one could survive the coming of the Others - practices that were perhaps utilized during the era of the LN, or Joramun - while others chose to join Mance in resistance.

3.) The Crackpot scenario: Craster is unique, singular, specifically because of whatever blood he inherited from his crow father; for the sake of argument, lets say Stark blood. Someone/something prompted Craster to begin his sacrifices. Quite a few possibilities here, depending on how one views the alliances and factions, but some prospects would be a sentient wight (ala Coldhands), one of the CotF, some sort of priest in allegiance with the Others (as some speculate is the case with Val).

Another prospect under this scenario is that Craster has been manipulated in his dreams, as both the 3EC and glass candles raise that prospect--a sufficiently superstitious or ignorant character could be tricked into believing that they're receiving instructions from "the gods."

4.) The Red Herring scenario: the whole thing is something Craster himself invented on the fly, and the timing is purely coincidental (assuming the return of the Others is relatively recent, in comparison to how long he must have been sacrificing).

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Posted (edited)
13 hours ago, Matthew. said:

I'm thinking in terms of four broad categories of what exactly prompted Craster's actions:
 

Well as you know, I was the one who first proposed the Sin-Eater theory and still reckon that its a good one. I don't believe that Craster thought it up all by his not overly intelligent self, but that one way or another bears a heavy curse. It may only be semantics but to my mind bears suggests to me that its a burden he inherited, and that when his mother turned up at Castle Black she wasn't just looking for his father but foreshadowing Gilly by trying to get her son through the Wall before his brothers came for him.

Someone messing with his dreams is possible but I'd say unlikely. The point here is what he's doing, whether he was instructed by his mother or the rest of the coven or somebody else entirely.

Lastly, or course there is the simple fact that we the readers know that the blue-eyed lot do indeed exist and are not a myth, so whatever the relationship between them and Craster's people, there is no cause for arguing that the women can't possibly not know what they claim to have seen.

ETA: I should also add that when Gilly tells Jon that the Cold Gods have bright blue eyes and he thinks of Othor, he is not confusing them with wights. Thanks to Old Nan he is familiar with the stories of wights and their masters, the white walkers. That's not to say he believed those stories at the time, but now he's learning that the old stories are true. He has fought with wights and now Gilly is describing their masters. He is correctly interpreting what he has seen and is hearing.

Edited by Black Crow

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I am not certain if I was the first to propose 3), but am happy to take credit and still think that is really what is going on. 

 

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Posted (edited)
22 hours ago, Black Crow said:

I should also add that when Gilly tells Jon that the Cold Gods have bright blue eyes and he thinks of Othor, he is not confusing them with wights. Thanks to Old Nan he is familiar with the stories of wights and their masters, the white walkers. That's not to say he believed those stories at the time, but now he's learning that the old stories are true. He has fought with wights and now Gilly is describing their masters. He is correctly interpreting what he has seen and is hearing.

How do you know he's not confusing them with wights? The wights have blue eyes also, and it were wights that came after Sam and Gilly. Gilly said they could smell the babe's stink of new life, which is very similar to Old Nan's claim that they can smell 'hot blood'.

Edited by Feather Crystal

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2 hours ago, Feather Crystal said:

How do you know he's not confusing them with wights? The wights have blue eyes also, and it were wights that came after Sam and Gilly. Gilly said they could smell the babe's stink of new life, which is very similar to Old Nan's claim that they can smell 'hot blood'.

Because GRRM [the writer] is telling us so. If there was intended to be confusion it would be written that way. "The Cold Gods, the ones who come in the night" as described by Gilly are not wights but white walkers. The point of this exchange is telling us that Old Nan's stories are coming through - first the walking dead in the shape of Othor and Jafer and now their masters, the White Walkers - who we [the readers] have already met in the prologue. GRRM is weaving it all together.

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Posted (edited)
5 minutes ago, Black Crow said:

Because GRRM [the writer] is telling us so. If there was intended to be confusion it would be written that way. "The Cold Gods, the ones who come in the night" as described by Gilly are not wights but white walkers. The point of this exchange is telling us that Old Nan's stories are coming through - first the walking dead in the shape of Othor and Jafer and now their masters, the White Walkers - who we [the readers] have already met in the prologue. GRRM is weaving it all together.

I believe Sam saw white walkers at the Fist, but I don't recall Sam and Gilly seeing any white walkers when they were trying to escape with the baby. 

Quote

ASOF - Samwell III

This is still a dream, Sam prayed. Oh, make it that I'm still asleep, make it a nightmare. He's dead, he's dead, I saw him die. "He's come for the babe," Gilly wept. "He smells him. A babe fresh-born stinks o' life. He's come for the life."

The huge dark shape stooped under the lintel, into the hall, and shambled toward them. In the dim light of the fire, the shadow became Small Paul.

 

 

Edited by Feather Crystal

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3 minutes ago, Feather Crystal said:

I believe Sam saw white walkers at the Fist, but I don't recall Sam and Gilly seeing any white walkers when they were trying to escape with the baby. 

 

I'm not sure of the point you're trying to make, because as I say we readers have encountered them in the prologue and Sam slew one on the retreat from the Fist. There's no question of their existence so why should we question statements as to their turning up at Craster's?

Whether or not they [or at least some of them] are Craster's sons, we're getting at one and the same time warnings that something's going on and that its perhaps more complicated than Old Nan suggests.

But for now, its time for bed. Good Night all

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1 hour ago, Black Crow said:

I'm not sure of the point you're trying to make, because as I say we readers have encountered them in the prologue and Sam slew one on the retreat from the Fist. There's no question of their existence so why should we question statements as to their turning up at Craster's?

Whether or not they [or at least some of them] are Craster's sons, we're getting at one and the same time warnings that something's going on and that its perhaps more complicated than Old Nan suggests.

But for now, its time for bed. Good Night all

Ok, let me try to clarify what I think is different by using Ramsay and his dogs as a comparison. His dogs can smell the prey and will eat the prey they catch, if allowed, but while Ramsay wants the prey caught, he doesn’t eat the prey himself. He just wants the prey caught and/or killed. I think it’s the same with white walkers and wights. The wights sniff out the prey, and if I remember correctly, Old Nan says they feed off the prey, but that doesn’t mean that the white walkers have the same objectives. They might just want any humans found to be killed.

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My take, especially with Thistle's prologue, is the wights are controlled similar to the Warg bond.  The wights don't actually want anything, they are just bodies.   This also ties back to Stark blood, as they are powerful Wargs.  

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5 hours ago, Brad Stark said:

My take, especially with Thistle's prologue, is the wights are controlled similar to the Warg bond.  The wights don't actually want anything, they are just bodies.   This also ties back to Stark blood, as they are powerful Wargs.  

I don't think that there can be any doubt that they are under some control of that nature and that wights themselves are mute. At the same time that control is working on two levels with a general herding control, intercut with occasional direct control of individual wights.

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Posted (edited)

A bit off topic but an interesting interview.

"George R.R. Martin: Dave and Dan have done the most popular TV show in the world. I gave my baby out for adaption and, and this is not my baby any more. But the books are still my baby."

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/60-minutes-game-of-thrones-season-8-premiere-behind-the-scenes-2019-04-14/

What is curious about this is that I saw a portion of the interview, a few days ago, where GRRM talks about how the story will end .  In that portion of the interview, he talks about the TV series hitting the major beats of the story and the the ending for both book and show will be basically the same.  He predicts that fans will fight about it on the internet.  LOL

I'm not sure what the major beats of the story will be but he seemed just as ambiguous as ever.

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/60-minutes-game-of-thrones-season-8-premiere-behind-the-scenes-2019-04-14/ 

 

Edited by LynnS

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6 hours ago, Black Crow said:

I don't think that there can be any doubt that they are under some control of that nature and that wights themselves are mute. At the same time that control is working on two levels with a general herding control, intercut with occasional direct control of individual wights.

I used to feel quite confident that the wights were under some type of control, but they may have some autonomy. If they are controlled by a skinchanger, then a skinchanger climbed over the Wall with Othor and Jafer. If they require a magical cold wind, then the magical cold wind got past the Wall. If a white walker is needed, then a white walker is south of the Wall. When people die north of the Wall their eyes turn blue and they stay blue even during daylight hours when they're not active. Are these blue eyes akin to lunar panels activated by moon power, or is it evidence of a type of possession like a demon? Or is it a kind of infection like a virus, and the wights are zombies? The Wall is supposed to block magic, and yet Othor and Jafer were able to move about on the south side.

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2 hours ago, LynnS said:

A bit off topic but an interesting interview.

"George R.R. Martin: Dave and Dan have done the most popular TV show in the world. I gave my baby out for adaption and, and this is not my baby any more. But the books are still my baby."

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/60-minutes-game-of-thrones-season-8-premiere-behind-the-scenes-2019-04-14/

What is curious about this is that I saw a portion of the interview, a few days ago, where GRRM talks about how the story will end .  In that portion of the interview, he talks about the TV series hitting the major beats of the story and the the ending for both book and show will be basically the same.  He predicts that fans will fight about it on the internet.  LOL

I'm not sure what the major beats of the story will be but he seemed just as ambiguous as ever.

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/60-minutes-game-of-thrones-season-8-premiere-behind-the-scenes-2019-04-14/ 

 

I read this same article and watched a clip of the interview. I thought the timing of it might hold some significance. I think it might be a warning to us book fans that his ending will upset some in our online community, because they might like Dave and Dan's ending better. He says it only affects secondary characters. Would Rhaegar and Lyanna be considered secondary characters?

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6 hours ago, Black Crow said:

I don't think that there can be any doubt that they are under some control of that nature and that wights themselves are mute. At the same time that control is working on two levels with a general herding control, intercut with occasional direct control of individual wights.

I think you are correct. The wight's behavior seems to be a combination of everyone doing one particular task, or one wight doing a special task. Without more information, we won't know how, but that's what the behavior tells us. 

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22 minutes ago, Feather Crystal said:

I used to feel quite confident that the wights were under some type of control, but they may have some autonomy. If they are controlled by a skinchanger, then a skinchanger climbed over the Wall with Othor and Jafer. If they require a magical cold wind, then the magical cold wind got past the Wall. If a white walker is needed, then a white walker is south of the Wall. When people die north of the Wall their eyes turn blue and they stay blue even during daylight hours when they're not active. Are these blue eyes akin to lunar panels activated by moon power, or is it evidence of a type of possession like a demon? Or is it a kind of infection like a virus, and the wights are zombies? The Wall is supposed to block magic, and yet Othor and Jafer were able to move about on the south side.

I think that the Wall doesn't block magic, it blocks uninvited magic or telepathy. What's his faces big boar was able to cross without going berserk. I think it comes down to the concept of being invited across a threshold. Basically, if the LC doesn't invite you across the Wall, you cannot use your magic. Same with Othor and Jafer, Mormont invited them across the Wall, then they activated. 

While I do theorize that an Other has gotten across the Wall, I don't think it happened until ADWD. so the invitation system is what makes sense to me. 

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3 minutes ago, Janneyc1 said:

I think that the Wall doesn't block magic, it blocks uninvited magic or telepathy. What's his faces big boar was able to cross without going berserk. I think it comes down to the concept of being invited across a threshold. Basically, if the LC doesn't invite you across the Wall, you cannot use your magic. Same with Othor and Jafer, Mormont invited them across the Wall, then they activated. 

While I do theorize that an Other has gotten across the Wall, I don't think it happened until ADWD. so the invitation system is what makes sense to me. 

But the important thing about Borroq and his boar is that they came through the Wall together. They are not separated by the Wall - their connection is not severed. 

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1 hour ago, Feather Crystal said:

I read this same article and watched a clip of the interview. I thought the timing of it might hold some significance. I think it might be a warning to us book fans that his ending will upset some in our online community, because they might like Dave and Dan's ending better. He says it only affects secondary characters. Would Rhaegar and Lyanna be considered secondary characters?

Oh good question.  What exactly are the major beats?

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25 minutes ago, LynnS said:

Oh good question.  What exactly are the major beats?

I'm assuming things like who lives, will there be a king or queen, will anyone sit the Iron Throne, will any Starks survive, will magic be eradicated, will the Wall come down, and will the seasons return to normal. Things like that are what I would think are major beats that shouldn't be affected by who your parents were.

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