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Black Crow

Heresy 224 Whitey Snow and the Winter Hill Gang

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Welcome to Heresy 224, the latest chapter in a thread which began 8 years ago as The Wall, The Watch and a Heresy, and has been running continuously ever since, racking up well over 89,000 posts in the process.

So what’s it all about and why has it been so successful? The short answer is that we look in a lot of depth at the Song of Ice and Fire, as it was originally outlined in GRRM’s 1993 synopsis. The story as it has actually been written has moved a long way since then of course, but broadly speaking we still follow the same premise then as now that the story is about Westeros and about its ancient Stark family, rather than the parvenu Targaryen succession and some mythic Middle-Eastern hero known as Azor Ahai.

As a result, here and in the back-issues you’ll find more information and discussion than anywhere else on the Westeros forum anent the Wall, the Watch and the Otherlands which lie beyond. And as for the Heresy, well that revolves around discussion not only of the true nature and origins of the Others, but also of the true nature of the Starks and their direwolves and their connection to Winter.

Going forward, we’re not of course supposed to discuss the Mummer’s Farce on this side of the forum, but while its ending was unsatisfactory [!] in so many ways, the character outcomes revealed to the Mummers at that meeting in Santa Fe over two years ago do confirm that something once touted as “the central mystery” of this happy tale of ordinary country folk is nothing of the sort and that we are right to pursue the true resolution of the story, which lies not in Valyria, but in Westeros and not a million miles removed from Winterfell.

To that end, by way of a recap on the discussions towards the end of Heresy 223, Jon Snow’s last POV in ADwD ends with him face down in the yard at Castle Black, bleeding out from multiple stab wounds. “Oh you think he’s dead do you?” GRRM famously commented. Well yes, and no. Although he’s a little bit dead, GRRM has dropped enough hints that we may be sure his story arc hasn’t ended. However far from being the little local difficulty from which with one bound Jack will be free as portrayed by the Mummers, the death, as we’ve been discussing, may actually be an essential doorway to explaining the real “central mystery” surrounding the Starks and their direwolves, because if, thanks to the direwolf link [which Varamyr never had], Jon’s spirit can roam free, then unlike Varamyr or any other “ordinary” skinchanger, he can return to his own dead body for so long as its preserved by the cold - or he can create a new one of ice and snow!

There is after all an old heretic joke that in the end this may not be the story of the dragons saving Westeros from the Others, but of the Others saving Westeros from the Dragons.

So off we go, but remember that another reason why this thread has lasted so long and prospered is that while we disagree all the time, the basic rule in the strap line below has always been cheerfully observed, for which I thank you all.

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1 hour ago, Black Crow said:

here is after all an old heretic joke that in the end this may not be the story of the dragons saving Westeros from the Others, but of the Others saving Westeros from the Dragons.

Though these days, perhaps the more topical slant would be that the books will save the fans from the show.

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1 hour ago, JNR said:

Though these days, perhaps the more topical slant would be that the books will save the fans from the show.

Schrödinger's cat politely disagrees.

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2 hours ago, Black Crow said:

Indeed, for they are a doomed people.

I wonder if they are?

Quote

She seemed sad when she said it, and that made Bran sad as well. It was only later that he thought, Men would not be sad. Men would be wroth. Men would hate and swear a bloody vengeance. The singers sing sad songs, where men would fight and kill.

A time for wolves?

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Posted (edited)

Since Jon Snow's fate was inserted into the OP and risking your collective sigh, I'll reassert my predictions. My position is based upon the foundation that there is a wheel of time at play and that the darn thing has some busted spokes and it wobbles a bit, but its also spinning backward un-doing all famous historical events from the past. Jon Snow, as Lord Commander of the Nights Watch is reprising the role of the Night's King with a teaspoon or two of flavoring of Azor Ahai.

I do agree that Azor Ahai was an historical Essos hero, but Bloodraven did one hell of a number on the magical door with the threadbare wards at the Wall and nearly ripped it from its hinges. North became south, east became west, and some of Essos history got layered on top of Westeros and visa versa.

In the Old Nan tale, the Night's King was removed from office by a collaboration of the Lord of Winterfell and Joramun who was King Beyond the Wall at that time. What do we currently have? Jon is the Lord Commander and he was brought down by mutiny by his own brothers of the Watch shortly after reading a letter from his brother-in-bastardy, Ramsay (Snow) Bolton and Lord of Winterfell who claims to have Mance the current King Beyond the Wall captured and hanging in a cage. Whether the letter speaks true or not the same characters are in place and in conflict.

If history is indeed reversing due to the effects of the wobbly wheel, then the Night's King has a good chance at being victorious - but he still has to be the Night's King first. A close examination of Old Nan's tale seems to suggest that he was some type of undead creature having given his seed and soul to a beautiful Other. A man by day, but something else by night.

The Azor Ahai flavor-layer added to the Night's King's history is what will actually help the Night's King become a hero. He'll forge his sword into a fiery blade to wrest control from the mutineers, then bring his force down upon Winterfell to defeat it's Lord and the King Beyond the Wall - or some such reversal, because I don't think we can rule out Mance as being the true author of the Pink Letter. Perhaps this time the King Beyond the Wall allies with the Night's King to defeat the Lord of Winterfell?

Edited by Feather Crystal

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Posted (edited)

I'd like to point out that the mummers had the Nights King descend upon Winterfell and not go anywhere else. I'm thinking since they chose to develop the romance betwixt Jon and Dany, they couldn't also have Jon become the Nights King. By playing out the R+L=J fanfic theory they complicated the outline and that is why the ending was so awkward. Arya came flying out of nowhere and *poof* the Nights King was gone, while Jon went north with the remaining wildlings. If I'm correct in predicting that Jon becomes the Nights King, then Arya may be central to ending his magical existence, but does that mean she will actually kill him or is there a way to reverse the magic? If Jon is successful in taking back Winterfell, do we really want him to live forever as an undead Lord? 

Edited by Feather Crystal

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19 hours ago, alienarea said:

Schrödinger's cat politely disagrees.

To extend that metaphor, it's possible the book box will never be opened.  Meaning we'll never read the ending, so we'll never know. 

But if we do get GRRM's ending, it's certainly going to be better than the show's. 

Consider: a Dark Lord, literally wearing an icy crown, killed with one blow by a teleporting hero, which instantly ended the second Long Night by simultaneously killing all Popsicles and wights worldwide.

I think it's quite safe to say GRRM's not gonna give us anything with such a stench as that.  It's exactly the kind of thing he hates, which is why his books haven't even got a Dark Lord except in the minds of red priests.

SImilarly, Arya is not going to sail off into the Sunset Sea for no apparent reason... Jon is not going to be sentenced to the Watch even though there's no reason for a Watch any more... Bran is not going to be voted the new king of Westeros despite having no claim... etc.

19 hours ago, Black Crow said:

Indeed, for they are a doomed people.

The fans?  Or D&D?

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Posted (edited)
28 minutes ago, Feather Crystal said:

Arya may be central to ending his magical existence, but does that mean she will actually kill him or is there a way to reverse the magic?

Arya and Alys (as fake Arya) together may be "un-doing" the role of the Corpse Queen. In Old Nan's story the Lord Commander spied her from atop the Wall, chased her down and loved her, giving her both his seed and his soul. So how might that be undone?

Arya is "no-one" which means symbolically she's dead which would fulfill the "corpse" part of the queen. Alys (fake Arya) rode to the Wall, arriving from the south side. Jon didn't fall in love with the "Corpse Queen" for two reasons: 1) she's his cousin, and 2) the real Arya is his sister. Melisandre did the "spying" by seeing the girl in the flames and warned Jon that his "sister" was on her way.

Jon married his "sister" to a wildling clan leader instead of to himself, thereby undoing the Night's King's marriage to the Other, which makes me wonder if the original Corpse Queen was actually the Lord Commander's sister? I dunno - just a passing thought, but an incestuous marriage could have been a contributing factor to the downfall of the Night's King.

Edited to add: the show may have tried to demonstrate a failure to complete an incestuous marriage by Jon's repugnance towards Dany once he learned she was his aunt.

Edited by Feather Crystal

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1 hour ago, JNR said:

The fans?  Or D&D?

Both. If the first are not already readers they certainly aint going to stick around to read a massive book which is going to be unrecognisable as what they've been watching.

As to to the second I understand they're on their way to a galaxy far far away where the ferocity of the fans makes watchers of GoT look like zweet reasonableness personified.

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41 minutes ago, Black Crow said:

Both. If the first are not already readers they certainly aint going to stick around to read a massive book which is going to be unrecognisable as what they've been watching.

As to to the second I understand they're on their way to a galaxy far far away where the ferocity of the fans makes watchers of GoT look like zweet reasonableness personified.

And, the force is strong in this one ;)

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My ambitions in raising Jon Snow's fate, were rather more modest than Feather's...

My point is that while death is commonly accounted a bad thing, especially when it involves a major character, in this case it isn't.

As we discussed in the previous thread I think that there are very good grounds for thinking that what makes the Starks special is that in partnership with their direwolves they are exceptionally powerful wargs, capable of flying free and ultimately leading us to the white walkers. My present argument is that it was necessary for him to die in order to unlock this secret

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Snow's death is an interesting wrench.

Per my reading of the Meereeneese Blot essays, Dance was about our characters' struggle with their identities. Dany tries and tries to rule, but keeps coming back to "dragons plant no trees," "remember who you are," etc. Arya keeps trying to be no one, and keeps failing. Per the sample chapter, she's going to go off the books yet again and commit another unauthorized freelance murder. Try as she might, she can't stop being Arya Stark. And Jon, after resisting multiple temptations, finally decides that he can no longer abandon his home to usurpers and must be, if not a Stark, at least a son of Winterfell.

But why kill the poor guy? Is it just a fun narrative trope? Does GRRM need a way to release him from his vows? Will it matter? It seems reasonable to expect Jon will spend some time as a wolf. Will Ghost get full honors as Lord Commander? Will Dolorous Edd feed him kibble and walk him regularly?

More seriously, where will he go? Straight to Ghost? Will his spirit will go a-wandering to the crypts, Eddard style? I think it almost a guarantee that Jon will find himself answering a phone call from a one Bran Stark. Surely death will jar that third eye wide open.

What will happen on the wall? Immediate bloodshed between Watch and Wildling? An uneasy peace with Bowen Marsh? Will Roose, Ramsay, or Stannis even be alive when Jon is Jon again? Will Jon ever even go to Winterfell? 

If nothing else, it's an interesting (STARK?) contrast with our other protagonists. Arya and Dany seem like they are aimed at home; Jon is very possibly homeless and unemployed.

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Posted (edited)
32 minutes ago, Direwolf Blitzer said:

Jon will find himself answering a phone call from a one Bran Stark. Surely death will jar that third eye wide open.

Jon already took a call from Bran when he showed up in his dream one night...

Quote

 

A Clash of Kings - Jon VII

When he closed his eyes, he dreamed of direwolves.

There were five of them when there should have been six, and they were scattered, each apart from the others. He felt a deep ache of emptiness, a sense of incompleteness. The forest was vast and cold, and they were so small, so lost. His brothers were out there somewhere, and his sister, but he had lost their scent. He sat on his haunches and lifted his head to the darkening sky, and his cry echoed through the forest, a long lonely mournful sound. As it died away, he pricked up his ears, listening for an answer, but the only sound was the sigh of blowing snow.

Jon?

The call came from behind him, softer than a whisper, but strong too. Can a shout be silent? He turned his head, searching for his brother, for a glimpse of a lean grey shape moving beneath the trees, but there was nothing, only . . .

A weirwood.

It seemed to sprout from solid rock, its pale roots twisting up from a myriad of fissures and hairline cracks. The tree was slender compared to other weirwoods he had seen, no more than a sapling, yet it was growing as he watched, its limbs thickening as they reached for the sky. Wary, he circled the smooth white trunk until he came to the face. Red eyes looked at him. Fierce eyes they were, yet glad to see him. The weirwood had his brother's face. Had his brother always had three eyes?

Not always, came the silent shout. Not before the crow.

He sniffed at the bark, smelled wolf and tree and boy, but behind that there were other scents, the rich brown smell of warm earth and the hard grey smell of stone and something else, something terrible. Death, he knew. He was smelling death. He cringed back, his hair bristling, and bared his fangs.

Don't be afraid, I like it in the dark. No one can see you, but you can see them. But first you have to open your eyes. See? Like this. And the tree reached down and touched him.

And suddenly he was back in the mountains, his paws sunk deep in a drift of snow as he stood upon the edge of a great precipice. Before him the Skirling Pass opened up into airy emptiness, and a long vee-shaped valley lay spread beneath him like a quilt, awash in all the colors of an autumn afternoon.

 

 

Jon was dreaming that he was Ghost. We know he was dreaming, because after Bran touched his third eye it opened and he saw what Ghost was seeing from his position high in the Skirling Pass, namely the wilding camp down in a valley. It was late afternoon, but when he was dreaming he was howling up at a darkening sky.

Bran helped Jon open his third eye, but I don't recall Jon replicating this afterward.

We have learned a lot about skinchangers and what happens to their spirits when they die, and there must be a purpose for these lessons. It must have to do with how Jon becomes the Night's King reborn, because this historical event will be reversed (undone). We may not fully understand the purpose, but it will make logical sense in retrospect.

 

Edited by Feather Crystal

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24 minutes ago, Direwolf Blitzer said:

Snow's death is an interesting wrench...

If nothing else, it's an interesting (STARK?) contrast with our other protagonists. Arya and Dany seem like they are aimed at home; Jon is very possibly homeless and unemployed.

Well that's where I disagree you see. In order to move the story along we need to start opening up the dark secrets in the Stark version of the Musgrave Ritual, and, if we're right about the warging and the white walkers that can only done throught John's death and his passage to the afterlife.

His last conscious though being a cry to Ghost is an indicator of his immediate destination, but contrary to what Varamyr tells us in the prologue there is an escape clause and its Jon's subsequent journeying which will move the story on and explain the Ritual.

 

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10 hours ago, Black Crow said:

Both. If the first are not already readers they certainly aint going to stick around to read a massive book which is going to be unrecognisable as what they've been watching.

Ah, well, I meant the books could save book fans -- us -- from the HBO project having tainted the whole franchise.  New canon would go a long way toward scrubbing away the reek.

As for show-only fans, I feel they deserve their own fate. 

11 hours ago, Black Crow said:

As to to the second I understand they're on their way to a galaxy far far away

True, but there are numerous petitions asking to get them pulled even from that as a result of the GOT implosion.

Also, of course, they'll have to sober up. 

Because they did an interview in April explaining they were going to hide from the Internet during and after the series finale, their only company to be many, many bottles full of strong liquor.

7 hours ago, Black Crow said:

His last conscious thought being a cry to Ghost is an indicator of his immediate destination

I think it's a trifle subtler than that.   But we used to agree on this -- recall your older position that this story's not gonna put Jon in a position of barking once for yes and twice for no.

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2 minutes ago, JNR said:

But we used to agree on this -- recall your older position that this story's not gonna put Jon in a position of barking once for yes and twice for no.

:lol:

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1 hour ago, JNR said:

I think it's a trifle subtler than that.   But we used to agree on this -- recall your older position that this story's not gonna put Jon in a position of barking once for yes and twice for no.

Absolutely, which is why I argued at the time that there had to be an escape clause, and where we are now is my interpretation of that escape clause - and its implications and consequences

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8 hours ago, JNR said:

I think it's a trifle subtler than that.   But we used to agree on this -- recall your older position that this story's not gonna put Jon in a position of barking once for yes and twice for no.

"What's that, Lord Commander? Selyse went to the Nightfort and now Patchface is stuck in the well!?"

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3 hours ago, Direwolf Blitzer said:

"What's that, Lord Commander? Selyse went to the Nightfort and now Patchface is stuck in the well!?"

I'm irresistably reminded of walking my mastiff the other day. He came across a large but undeniably dead bird, studied it from various angles, sniffed at it - and then pissed on it :devil:

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