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Black Crow

Heresy 221 and the Children of Winterfell

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34 minutes ago, Black Crow said:

I believe that in the Mummers' version he turned out to be Uncle Benjen, although I recall being told that the original mss has a scribbled editorial note in which Anne Roell asks if Coldhands is Benjen and GRRM says No.

Imo this is evidence against Coldhands being the Last Hero, which easily could have been done on the show.   If the reveal is Coldhands is Cregan Stark, for example,  the show couldn't do that without introducing a lot of background or they'd confuse viewers.  The show also couldn't make the Night King Coldhands.  They used the fan theory Coldhands is Benjen, even though it is wrong, because it conveniently solves 2 mysteries they didn't have time to do properly.

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Posted (edited)
18 minutes ago, Brad Stark said:

Imo this is evidence against Coldhands being the Last Hero, which easily could have been done on the show.   If the reveal is Coldhands is Cregan Stark, for example,  the show couldn't do that without introducing a lot of background or they'd confuse viewers.

Even the Last Hero version is somewhat difficult to execute satisfyingly for a show watcher; I think one of the biggest obstacles they've faced is that it's difficult to convey pre-Robert's Rebellion history within the storytelling philosophy of "show, don't tell," as 'showing' would have been prohibitively expensive.

You can get away with RR-era exposition because many characters have a personal connection - eg, Jaime talking of his experiences with Aerys - but exposition about the Age of Heroes would essentially be two characters spouting fake history lessons at one another, and it's difficult to do in a way that is elegant and engaging, much less in a way that can adequately cover the ground necessary to create viewer investment in the narrative and dramatis personae of antiquity.

Which is a long-winded way of saying that, even if CH were the LH, I don't think that would have ever been reflected in the show--it's just easier and more intuitive within the medium to make Benjen a composite figure, and call it a day.

Edited by Matthew.

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15 minutes ago, Brad Stark said:

Imo this is evidence against Coldhands being the Last Hero, which easily could have been done on the show.   If the reveal is Coldhands is Cregan Stark, for example,  the show couldn't do that without introducing a lot of background or they'd confuse viewers.  The show also couldn't make the Night King Coldhands.  They used the fan theory Coldhands is Benjen, even though it is wrong, because it conveniently solves 2 mysteries they didn't have time to do properly.

As I said, I don't reckon that Coldhands himself is significant. As I've discussed at length in the past the whole business of Coldhands, the ambush and the meeting with Bloodraven is so heavily based on the climax of Heart of Darkness that if Conrad was still living he could sue GRRM for plagiarism - to which the only possible defence would be a a genuine admiration for the passage,

Hence my supplementary contention that Coldhands is not a significant character in his own right but likely to serve as a pattern for Jon.

As to the rest I'm in agreement with Matthew. All dramatic interpretations by their very nature trim back [or dumb down] the literature and in the process this has meant cutting out too much of what this story is really about.

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@Frey family reunion had some interesting thoughts on Jon as a 'broken sword' with his soul riding in Ghost and his body containing his memories.   The bones contain the memories we are told.   Ultimately the pommel and the blade have to be joined back together in some manner.   Assuming that Coldhands' body is freeze-dried like the other wights.  Did some powerful skin-changer take over ousting the blue-eyed interloper to claim the body?  That would make for an interesting twist and add interest to a Ghost/Coldhands encounter.

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I need to come back to the Bran's chapter when he watches a man being sacrificed and tastes his blood.

I brought that up a couple of times and most of you ignored it, but I have a long breath ;)

I interpreted this scene as Bran tasting his own blood, hinting at a time loop and all Brandon Starks are being the same person.

And without context I also assumed that the show scene of the CotF creating the Night King is the Mummes version of Bran's chapter.

That of course is a significant difference. In the books the sacrifice is done by humans, in the show by CotF.

What if the sacrifice in the books was the Starks sacrificing one of their own, Brandon Stark, the last hero, to end the long night, as the CotF told the last hero.

The catch for the books were that the White Walkers rise when Brandon Stark, Rickards heir, is executed by Aerys. That ties together the "both die a king, first father then son" prophecy, as it still considers the Starks to be Kings in the North and maybe the cold hell for Starks.

If I were to follow this as a story, I would have Daenerys destroy KL first, and meet the AotD at the Trident (they would ignore Winterfell on their way South?). Jon, as their leader, would kill Daenerys and the White Walkers would dissolve then.

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5 minutes ago, alienarea said:

I brought that up a couple of times and most of you ignored it, but I have a long breath ;)

I wasn't ignoring you... I just didn't have anything to say.

Bran's fascination with blood and the blood of the first men literally flowed through Stark veins?
 

Quote

 

A Game of Thrones - Bran I

Bran kept his pony well in hand, and did not look away.

His father took off the man's head with a single sure stroke. Blood sprayed out across the snow, as red as summerwine. One of the horses reared and had to be restrained to keep from bolting. Bran could not take his eyes off the blood. The snows around the stump drank it eagerly, reddening as he watched.

A Game of Thrones - Bran I

"He does," his father admitted. "As did the Targaryen kings before him. Yet our way is the older way. The blood of the First Men still flows in the veins of the Starks, and we hold to the belief that the man who passes the sentence should swing the sword. If you would take a man's life, you owe it to him to look into his eyes and hear his final words. And if you cannot bear to do that, then perhaps the man does not deserve to die.

 

 

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Posted (edited)
12 minutes ago, alienarea said:

I interpreted this scene as Bran tasting his own blood, hinting at a time loop and all Brandon Starks are being the same person.

I actually agree with this. I've said as much many years ago too. I think it implies that the man being sacrificed was also a Brandon Stark, and that Bran is replaying all events that involved a Brandon Stark throughout history. But was the woman slicing his neck a Stark also, or was she a wood's witch carrying out a sacrifice? It might be a clue as to how Winterfell got to become the home of Starks, or how the Starks became the Kings of Winter, but it also might be the reason why the pregnant woman begged the old gods for vengeance.

Edited by Feather Crystal

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We have 2 question about the 3 eyed crow.   Myra asks Coldhands "Who sent you? Who is this three-eyed crow?"

Now, Coldhands doesn't have any reason to lie, and I don't believe he has any reason to be mysterious.   He could say "Bloodraven,  you'll meet him soon".  His answer really makes a lot more sense if Bran is the one controlling him, and doesn't understand how to explain this to the group or doesn't have time to. 

Similar, when Bran asked Bloodraven if he is the 3 eyed crow,  he don't get a direct answer, and Bloodraven himself doesn't seem to understand the question.   He has no reason not to give a direct answer. 

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1 hour ago, LynnS said:

@Frey family reunion had some interesting thoughts on Jon as a 'broken sword' with his soul riding in Ghost and his body containing his memories.   The bones contain the memories we are told.   Ultimately the pommel and the blade have to be joined back together in some manner.   Assuming that Coldhands' body is freeze-dried like the other wights.  Did some powerful skin-changer take over ousting the blue-eyed interloper to claim the body?  That would make for an interesting twist and add interest to a Ghost/Coldhands encounter.

I'm not convinced that Coldhands is freeze-dried - there still seems to be too much "life" in his body, but essentially that's what I'm suggesting; that Jon is going to be a sufficiently powerful warg to return to his own dead body - complete with the black hands by which ye shall know him.

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1 hour ago, alienarea said:

I need to come back to the Bran's chapter when he watches a man being sacrificed and tastes his blood.

I brought that up a couple of times and most of you ignored it, but I have a long breath ;)

I interpreted this scene as Bran tasting his own blood, hinting at a time loop and all Brandon Starks are being the same person.

And without context I also assumed that the show scene of the CotF creating the Night King is the Mummes version of Bran's chapter.

That of course is a significant difference. In the books the sacrifice is done by humans, in the show by CotF.

What if the sacrifice in the books was the Starks sacrificing one of their own, Brandon Stark, the last hero, to end the long night, as the CotF told the last hero.

The catch for the books were that the White Walkers rise when Brandon Stark, Rickards heir, is executed by Aerys. That ties together the "both die a king, first father then son" prophecy, as it still considers the Starks to be Kings in the North and maybe the cold hell for Starks.

If I were to follow this as a story, I would have Daenerys destroy KL first, and meet the AotD at the Trident (they would ignore Winterfell on their way South?). Jon, as their leader, would kill Daenerys and the White Walkers would dissolve then.

I don't believe the book scene is the creation of the whitewalkers.  Not only do we have a human instead of a CotF, we have a sickle clearly meant to spill the man's blood, vs an operation where his body is important.  I believe this is the creation of the Wierwood of Winterfell, or when it got it's face.  This is as far back as it is possible for Bran to go as the tree, and that is why he stops here. 

This doesn't mean the man sacrificed isn't Bran's ancestor or even Bran himself.  We've seen sacrifice of magical bloodlines being important.  This is why Bran had to eat Jojen - paste and not Hodor - paste.

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1 hour ago, Matthew. said:

exposition about the Age of Heroes would essentially be two characters spouting fake history lessons at one another, and it's difficult to do in a way that is elegant and engaging, much less in a way that can adequately cover the ground necessary to create viewer investment in the narrative and dramatis personae of antiquity

Of course.  The show audience is loaded with people who think Dany's name is Khaleesi; they aren't even going to remember any of the above. 

If you gave the show audience a pop quiz, and asked them to name Jon's biological father, I'd guess half would either say Ray Gun or Ned.

1 hour ago, Feather Crystal said:

Bran is replaying all events that involved a Brandon Stark throughout history

What's the connection to a Brandon Stark in the scene where Benjen and Lyanna are stick-fighting?

I think he's just seeing events that occurred in front of the Winterfell heart tree, and I'm sure he can do that for any heart tree anywhere... and eventually, per Bloodraven, "well beyond the trees" entirely.  Example:

Quote

He lifted his eyes and saw clear across the narrow sea, to the Free Cities and the green Dothraki sea and beyond, to Vaes Dothrak under its mountain, to the fabled lands of the Jade Sea, to Asshai by the Shadow

The 3EC is presumably doing the heavy lifting there, not Bran, but it still suggests eventual capabilities far beyond what Bran has in ADWD.

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14 minutes ago, JNR said:

Of course.  The show audience is loaded with people who think Dany's name is Khaleesi; they aren't even going to remember any of the above. 

If you gave the show audience a pop quiz, and asked them to name Jon's biological father, I'd guess half would either say Ray Gun or Ned.

What's the connection to a Brandon Stark in the scene where Benjen and Lyanna are stick-fighting?

I think he's just seeing events that occurred in front of the Winterfell heart tree, and I'm sure he can do that for any heart tree anywhere... and eventually, per Bloodraven, "well beyond the trees" entirely.  Example:

The 3EC is presumably doing the heavy lifting there, not Bran, but it still suggests eventual capabilities far beyond what Bran has in ADWD.

Males in the Stark family named Brandon are legendary figures. So legendary that every rotation of the wheel of time has a Brandon Stark. Bran the Builder is credited with building the Wall, Storm's End, and for being the first human to learn how to speak the language of nature to the Children of the Forest. These events are so far in the past that it may very well be that "Bran the Builder" are actually three separate Brandons.

It seems likely that a Brandon Stark was the first greenseer, and perhaps even the Last Hero. A human being able to see through the eyes of the weirwoods likely have a Brandon Stark to thank. Even if Bran isn't a resurrected Brandon or that he's every Brandon, he's still Brandon reborn, and he plays a very important role on the wheel of time. Every rotation of the wheel of time has a Brandon Stark no matter if it's moving forward or backward. Whichever Brandon is currently alive, he's playing the role of Brandon. The same cannot be said for any other player on the wheel of time. There isn't a Ned Stark, Jon Snow, or a Cersei Lannister on every rotation, but there is a King's Hand, a Lord Commander, and a Lord's Daughter that becomes Queen.

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Hard to believe Brandon, Ned's son, and Brandon,  Ned's brother, play the same role or are otherwise the same. 

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1 hour ago, Brad Stark said:

Hard to believe Brandon, Ned's son, and Brandon,  Ned's brother, play the same role or are otherwise the same. 

They aren’t the same person, but they both play the role of Brandon on the wheel of time. Think of them as playing pieces, Westeros is the game board, and each rotation of the wheel is a new game.

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7 hours ago, Black Crow said:

I believe that in the Mummers' version he turned out to be Uncle Benjen, although I recall being told that the original mss has a scribbled editorial note in which Anne Roell asks if Coldhands is Benjen and GRRM says No.

My own view remains that Coldhands is the Russian, He follows Bloodraven because he admires and is fascinated by him but ultimately has neither a deep seated loyalty, nor any compulsion to blindly obey him.  He is moulded so closely on the Russian/Harlequin as to arrive on the page complete and needs no back-story. He also leaves the story as completely and enigmatically as Conrad's original.

We haven't got that far yet, so its possible he may re-appear to aid any escape by Bran from the Cave of Skulls, but I rather fancy that if he has a purpose beyond what we're seen it is to serve as a pattern for a Jon resurrected not by Fire but by Ice.

The Russian?

7 hours ago, Black Crow said:

There is an immediate thought occurs to me on this one. 

Jon, as in the other versions of the dream feels compelled to enter the crypts, not because Lyanna's tomb is bursting full of harps, wedding certificates, marriage cloaks and probably even a bit of the cake, but because something far more terrible is waiting.

Its not the kings, but something else.

And then he screams that he's not a Stark, and that it isn't his place - but of course he is a son of Winterfell and he is being drawn down

At this point comes the thought that when Ned mused about a cold hell just for the Starks, it may not have been a rhetorical question

Yep, there are definitely several very important things about the crypts and located within the crypts. At least one of those things is going to be thoroughly unpleasant.

But all jokes aside, it would not surprise me in the slightest if Lyanna's tomb did in fact contain a marriage cloak, a wedding certificate or some other token or momento from Rhaegar. It also wouldn't surprise me if the Lyanna had the shield of the Knight of the Laughing Tree in her tomb. Being that it's all but confirmed that she is the Knight of the Laughing Tree.

 

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7 hours ago, Brad Stark said:

Imo this is evidence against Coldhands being the Last Hero, which easily could have been done on the show.   If the reveal is Coldhands is Cregan Stark, for example,  the show couldn't do that without introducing a lot of background or they'd confuse viewers.  The show also couldn't make the Night King Coldhands.  They used the fan theory Coldhands is Benjen, even though it is wrong, because it conveniently solves 2 mysteries they didn't have time to do properly.

The Last Hero would have been difficult.

6 hours ago, Matthew. said:

Even the Last Hero version is somewhat difficult to execute satisfyingly for a show watcher; I think one of the biggest obstacles they've faced is that it's difficult to convey pre-Robert's Rebellion history within the storytelling philosophy of "show, don't tell," as 'showing' would have been prohibitively expensive.

You can get away with RR-era exposition because many characters have a personal connection - eg, Jaime talking of his experiences with Aerys - but exposition about the Age of Heroes would essentially be two characters spouting fake history lessons at one another, and it's difficult to do in a way that is elegant and engaging, much less in a way that can adequately cover the ground necessary to create viewer investment in the narrative and dramatis personae of antiquity.

Which is a long-winded way of saying that, even if CH were the LH, I don't think that would have ever been reflected in the show--it's just easier and more intuitive within the medium to make Benjen a composite figure, and call it a day.

I don't know.

I think that one big flashback episode was not only doable but necessary. Like we definitely should've seen the Tourney of Harrenhal: Mad King Aerys, Varys, Rhaegar, the Lannister twins, all of the Stark kids, all of the Tullys, Robert Baratheon, Jon Arryn, Oberyn Martell, Jon Connington, Barristan Selmy, Ashara Dayne, Elia Martell, most of the Kingsguard, Howland Reed, Mace Tyrell, etc.

There's a lot there to work with. You could condense most of the pre-RR history and go quite a long ways in solving some of the series' mysteries right then and there with these characters all together.

I also think it wouldn't hurt if we saw scenes that were flashbacks but already established sets. Like the details of the Littlefinger-Lysa-Catelyn feud in Riverrun...

If the showrunners had a sliver of creativity, they'd do what Quentin Tarantino did in Kill Bill and what the director/writers/producers of the Harry Potter movies did. They could've told the Last Hero story in one of Bran's dreams as an animated feature. They could have done that for all of Bran's really important, super-prophetic green dreams.

1 hour ago, Feather Crystal said:

They aren’t the same person, but they both play the role of Brandon on the wheel of time. Think of them as playing pieces, Westeros is the game board, and each rotation of the wheel is a new game.

That lines up with my theory that the gods (or godlike, super-powered figures) are playing a game of thrones with humans just like kings and high lords play a game of thrones with the lowborn commoners. And that "the gods" themselves are like the actual wizard in the Wizard of Oz, pawns in an even larger game and scheme.

Bran is becoming one of the said superpowered figures who are to be considered gods. Daenerys is also probably well on her way.

Notice the similarities between Bran's meeting with the current 3EC Bloodraven and Dorothy's meeting with the famous wizard of Oz?

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2 hours ago, Feather Crystal said:

They aren’t the same person, but they both play the role of Brandon on the wheel of time. Think of them as playing pieces, Westeros is the game board, and each rotation of the wheel is a new game.

But to say they play the same role, don't they need more in common than just a first name?

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2 hours ago, Feather Crystal said:

They aren’t the same person, but they both play the role of Brandon on the wheel of time.

How do you account for situations in which there are two Brandon Starks simultaneously?   Example:

Quote

That's a Brandon, the tall one with the dreamy face, he was Brandon the Shipwright, because he loved the sea. His tomb is empty. He tried to sail west across the Sunset Sea and was never seen again. His son was Brandon the Burner, because he put the torch to all his father's ships in grief.

Here we have two Brandons, father and son, existing at the same time.

I think there's something to be said for recurring roles in this series -- GRRM has made that obvious in certain cases, such as Azor Ahai -- but I'm not clear that Brandon Starks are particularly special in this sense.

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6 hours ago, Black Crow said:

I'm not convinced that Coldhands is freeze-dried - there still seems to be too much "life" in his body, but essentially that's what I'm suggesting; that Jon is going to be a sufficiently powerful warg to return to his own dead body - complete with the black hands by which ye shall know him.

Ned doesn't specially say blue eyes but eyes of ice?

Quote

A Game of Thrones - Eddard XIII

He was walking through the crypts beneath Winterfell, as he had walked a thousand times before. The Kings of Winter watched him pass with eyes of ice, and the direwolves at their feet turned their great stone heads and snarled. Last of all, he came to the tomb where his father slept, with Brandon and Lyanna beside him. "Promise me, Ned," Lyanna's statue whispered. She wore a garland of pale blue roses, and her eyes wept blood.

Quote

 

A Game of Thrones - Jon VII

Then he saw it, a shadow in the shadows, sliding toward the inner door that led to Mormont's sleeping cell, a man-shape all in black, cloaked and hooded … but beneath the hood, its eyes shone with an icy blue radiance

 

 

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Jabar of House Titan said:

The Last Hero would have been difficult.

I don't know.

I think that one big flashback episode was not only doable but necessary. Like we definitely should've seen the Tourney of Harrenhal: Mad King Aerys, Varys, Rhaegar, the Lannister twins, all of the Stark kids, all of the Tullys, Robert Baratheon, Jon Arryn, Oberyn Martell, Jon Connington, Barristan Selmy, Ashara Dayne, Elia Martell, most of the Kingsguard, Howland Reed, Mace Tyrell, etc.

There's a lot there to work with. You could condense most of the pre-RR history and go quite a long ways in solving some of the series' mysteries right then and there with these characters all together.

I also think it wouldn't hurt if we saw scenes that were flashbacks but already established sets. Like the details of the Littlefinger-Lysa-Catelyn feud in Riverrun...

If the showrunners had a sliver of creativity, they'd do what Quentin Tarantino did in Kill Bill and what the director/writers/producers of the Harry Potter movies did. They could've told the Last Hero story in one of Bran's dreams as an animated feature. They could have done that for all of Bran's really important, super-prophetic green dreams.

That lines up with my theory that the gods (or godlike, super-powered figures) are playing a game of thrones with humans just like kings and high lords play a game of thrones with the lowborn commoners. And that "the gods" themselves are like the actual wizard in the Wizard of Oz, pawns in an even larger game and scheme.

Bran is becoming one of the said superpowered figures who are to be considered gods. Daenerys is also probably well on her way.

Notice the similarities between Bran's meeting with the current 3EC Bloodraven and Dorothy's meeting with the famous wizard of Oz?

Yes, a game of thrones with human play pieces set within a larger game of Cyvasse. GRRM was once very involved with chess, was once classified as “expert”, and was a director that organized chess tournaments. So it should not be a surprise if he uses the structure of a game as a literary element.

I have compared the reversal of the wheel of time to Lewis Carroll’s Through the Looking Glass where Alice reenters Wonderland by climbing through a mirror into the world that she can see beyond. While I haven’t explored the parallels to the Wizard of Oz, I have read The Biggest Leech’s compelling comparison of Bran to Pinocchio though.

Alice is playing with a white kitten named Snowdrop and a black kitten called Kitty, when she ponders what the world would be like on the other side of the mirror’s reflection. She climbs up onto the fireplace mantel to poke at the mirror and discovers that she is able to step through it to an alternate world. She finds a book of poetry named Jabberwocky, whose reversed print can only be read by holding it up to the mirror. 

I theorize that the titled chapters of ASOIAF are written as a type of Jabberwocky which can be deciphered to uncover a second story hidden amongst the parallels, metaphors, and symbolism. Westeros itself has been reversed like an image in a mirror.

1 hour ago, Brad Stark said:

But to say they play the same role, don't they need more in common than just a first name?

Yes, they have to be Starks.

1 hour ago, JNR said:

How do you account for situations in which there are two Brandon Starks simultaneously?   Example:

Here we have two Brandons, father and son, existing at the same time.

I think there's something to be said for recurring roles in this series -- GRRM has made that obvious in certain cases, such as Azor Ahai -- but I'm not clear that Brandon Starks are particularly special in this sense.

One complete cycle of the wheel of time is four seasons long, so if one season is delayed for a number of years, the same seasonal events occur with some frequency. This is how you can have multiple Brandons.

For example, tourneys occur in Spring, political unrest in autumn, and war in winter. The False Spring of 281 was ground zero for when the wheel reversed, interrupting the events that normally occur in Spring, Summer, and Autumn. Instead of moving forward through Spring, Winter returned with a vengeance. I suspect Bloodraven manipulated the wheel so that Ned’s son Bran could be born. Once Bran was born, Summer was delayed for nine years so that Bran could safely grow up. But Bloodraven is fading into the weirwoods, or so he says, and maybe he had to allow the wheel to move forward into autumn once again? That is until Dany broke the wheel, and all of history is coming undone.

As for Azor Ahai...I think he’s the flip side of the same coin as the Last Hero. Essos is the flip side of Westeros. We see the parallels between Azor Ahai and the Last Hero, but each belongs to their own continent. We won’t see Azor Ahai in Westeros, but we may see one in Essos.

Edited by Feather Crystal

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