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Brandon Ice-Eyes V1

Did the Starks practice blood sacrifice?

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12 hours ago, Brandon Ice-Eyes V1 said:

Did the Starks practise blood sacrifice?

So we know from Brans visions that there has been blood sacrifice at the Winterfell Godswood before but do we have any idea if this happened often? The World Book mentions blood sacrifice persisting in White Harbour 500 years ago yet it seems to have vanished from The North.

So basically did House Stark once partake in Blood Sacrifice and are we given any idea as to why they stopped if they did?

 

Something was feeding that tree in Winterfell.  The ritual fed that tree regularly.   It was most likely done to obtain power.  Power to defeat the other nobles in the north.  The Starks gave their prisoners to the Seers in exchange for assistance in conquering the north.  Feeding blood to the trees fed the Seers indirectly.  Perhaps the Seers gave the Starks the ability to skin change.

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Posted (edited)
18 minutes ago, Damsel in Distress said:

Something was feeding that tree in Winterfell.  The ritual fed that tree regularly.   It was most likely done to obtain power.  Power to defeat the other nobles in the north.  The Starks gave their prisoners to the Seers in exchange for assistance in conquering the north.  Feeding blood to the trees fed the Seers indirectly.  Perhaps the Seers gave the Starks the ability to skin change.

This makes no sense. Every FM House would have done that, if that were the case. If feeding the heart tree gives you some power to defeat other noble Houses and come on top, then everyone would do it to try and subdue the other.

And if the Seers gave the power to skinchange to the Starks, then they gave it to Varamyr, Borroq, Orell, Bloodraven and whoever else was/is able to skinchange. As far as we know, none of these people have Stark blood. 

 

Edited by Alexis-something-Rose

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I don't think that the imagery pointing to sacrifice or another ritual should be dismissed completely. Women - old women - are usually not the ones carrying out executions, a sickle is not a normal weapon of choice for executing someone. The bronze blade suggests either a pre-iron era or an ancient artefact passed on for a specific purpose (or both). But what really makes the connection for me is that through the weirwood, Bran can taste the blood. Something is going on there with the blood and the tree.

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I think the answer is absolutely yes. 

I am confident the question of human sacrifice is a major part of the answer to the core mystery/mysteries of the series, which i think are all inter-related: why are the others coming back now; why is magic returning to the world and getting more potent; why have the dragons been re-born now; who are the others and what is their origin; what does it mean that there must always be a stark in winterfell; why are the seasons messed up; what is the origin of the magic that makes the weirwoood/greenseer thing work; what happened between the first men and COTF; what was the doom of in Valyria; what explains the Valyrians' power over dragons; etc etc. 

I'm not going to spend hours researching and citing text. I think the issue of human sacrifice is woven throughout the books.

I also think slavery is the other element that will somehow be a big part of the answers to these questions.

 

 

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4 hours ago, Hugorfonics said:

That the executioner and judge is also the jury, sure. But if the Heartree is the jury, then who cares who swings the sword?

The heart tree isn't the jury - the greenseer using it to watch passes the sentence. Yeah: this poses the issue of the sword swinging, and an exectioner is required, hence it's done so the greenseer is confronted with the result of his judgment, even having to taste the blood.

4 hours ago, Hugorfonics said:

And this whole, "if you cant condemn them then they shouldnt be killed" shtick was not taught to Bran but to Jon. And Eddard clearly doesnt follow their own rules in that regard

wrong. Here's the  full quote:

 
Quote

 

Bran had no answer for that. "King Robert has a headsman," he said, uncertainly.
"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.
"One day, Bran, you will be Robb's bannerman, holding a keep of your own for your brother and your king, and justice will fall to you. When that day comes, you must take no pleasure in the task, but neither must you look away. A ruler who hides behind paid executioners soon forgets what death is." (aGoT, Bran I)

 

 
It's there in the midst of the judge swinging the sword himself. Bran's response to the past he witnessed and his later compassionate response to Theon is Bran doing what his father told him. It's just that most readers only remember the "swing the sword yourself" part, as both Jon and Robb perform this and repeat it. Neither are greenseers though. And by tWoW, Theon 1, Bran is set up for the position of putting Theon in harm's way.
 
4 hours ago, Hugorfonics said:

Hanging entrails on a weirwood is a blood sacrifice to a tree. What else could it be, christmas decorations? 

Is heads on spikes a blood sacrifice? These men were clearly killed, not as sacrifice, but killed for their crimes against the people they enslaved.

4 hours ago, Hugorfonics said:

Bartimus wasnt around during Ice Eyes, his ancestors were though. This story came from somewhere.

It's mentioned in the World Book. "They" of "they say" might be a maester.

4 hours ago, Hugorfonics said:

True, but again, not very lucid

To those interacting with a greenseer via weirwood tree, it would be enough.

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Of course they were.  One of the rivalries in this series is the one between the Starks and the Lannisters.  The Lannisters are disgusting.  I think we will learn as the story continues to reveal the past that the Starks are just as awful.  Ned was the exception among the Starks because he was actually a decent guy.  

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2 hours ago, Ygrain said:

I don't think that the imagery pointing to sacrifice or another ritual should be dismissed completely. Women - old women - are usually not the ones carrying out executions, a sickle is not a normal weapon of choice for executing someone. The bronze blade suggests either a pre-iron era or an ancient artefact passed on for a specific purpose (or both). But what really makes the connection for me is that through the weirwood, Bran can taste the blood. Something is going on there with the blood and the tree.

The heart tree is very young, so it's safe to say it's a scene from the age of heroes - bronze age. The execitioner in this case would be someone who's trained in listening to the greenseer speaking via the tree.

Tasting the blood makes the greenseer complicit, an explicit reminder of the life lost, and not to take lightly.

 
Quote

 

After that the glimpses came faster and faster, till Bran was feeling lost and dizzy. He saw no more of his father, nor the girl who looked like Arya, but a woman heavy with child emerged naked and dripping from the black pool, knelt before the tree, and begged the old gods for a son who would avenge her. Then there came a brown-haired girl slender as a spear who stood on the tips of her toes to kiss the lips of a young knight as tall as Hodor. A dark-eyed youth, pale and fierce, sliced three branches off the weirwood and shaped them into arrows. The tree itself was shrinking, growing smaller with each vision, whilst the lesser trees dwindled into saplings and vanished, only to be replaced by other trees that would dwindle and vanish in their turn. And now the lords Bran glimpsed were tall and hard, stern men in fur and chain mail. Some wore faces he remembered from the statues in the crypts, but they were gone before he could put a name to them.
Then, as he watched, a bearded man forced a captive down onto his knees before the heart tree. A white-haired woman stepped toward them through a drift of dark red leaves, a bronze sickle in her hand.
"No," said Bran, "no, don't," but they could not hear him, no more than his father had. The woman grabbed the captive by the hair, hooked the sickle round his throat, and slashed. And through the mist of centuries the broken boy could only watch as the man's feet drummed against the earth … but as his life flowed out of him in a red tide, Brandon Stark could taste the blood.

 

 

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17 hours ago, chrisdaw said:

I think the ability to skin change is going to have originated from magic that required human sacrifice.

And that the sacrifices had to be of the same blood as the bloodline that acquired it. Not some other person but a family member. A child. A baby.

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3 minutes ago, chrisdaw said:

And that the sacrifices had to be of the same blood as the bloodline that acquired it. Not some other person but a family member. A child. A baby.

And why exactly do you think that? I mean, what in the text led you think one had to sacrifice a child/baby of one’s own blood? 

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Just now, kissdbyfire said:

And why exactly do you think that? I mean, what in the text led you think one had to sacrifice a child/baby of one’s own blood? 

The souls between dragons and babies are being swapped in the womb, giving the mother part dragon blood. Every child she then has is part dragon blooded, sometimes too dragon blooded to survive and they come stillborn looking like a baby dragon/human hybrid, results vary, and through generations the dragon blood can be diluted.

If that's how it worked for dragons, and I'm completely sure it does (it happens in AGOT), then it is probably how it worked in some fashion for everyone else and their animal bonds. Wolf blood.

Though the soul swapping may not be as fatal for other animals, as dragons are uniquely fire the human child's heart gets consumed by fire when the souls swap, with a wolf I suppose there's no reason the child would necessary die. With a kraken it would drown.

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20 hours ago, chrisdaw said:

I think the ability to skin change is going to have originated from magic that required human sacrifice.

Probably so.  The Starks took an oath to feed the blood of their victims to the weir trees in exchange for this magic.  This magic made them stronger than the other noble families in the north.  The Starks made a devil's bargain.

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2 hours ago, chrisdaw said:

And that the sacrifices had to be of the same blood as the bloodline that acquired it. Not some other person but a family member. A child. A baby.

It's not really a sacrifice for a Stark to murder someone who doesn't mean anything to them.  The more trees, the more blood has to be fed.  So one family alone cannot feed the trees with their first-born.  They had to have fed battle captives, criminals, people they didn't like and even innocents to the trees.  Weirwoods covered the land back then.  They were sacrificing their own for sure.  But the volume needed to support a forest of weirwoods would require the murder of many people.  

What they were doing was the over-the-top version of the Aztecs.  The sacrifices honored the trees and the Old Gods.  The same thing was taking place across the Sea in places like Asshai and Valyria.  The Post-Doom Targaryens either never actively took part in it or they stopped soon after the Doom.  

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9 hours ago, sweetsunray said:

The heart tree is very young, so it's safe to say it's a scene from the age of heroes - bronze age. The execitioner in this case would be someone who's trained in listening to the greenseer speaking via the tree.

Tasting the blood makes the greenseer complicit, an explicit reminder of the life lost, and not to take lightly.

Mayhaps, but this still doesn't explain the use of a sickle and an old woman as an executioner. Even if she was a matriarch and thus the one to carry out the sentence the Stark way, why a sickle? And even if she is the one trained to listen to the tree/greenseer, why would she have to carry out the execution herself? Or perhaps it was an execution AND sacrifice?

A nice point about making the greenseer complicit but without support, and it doesn't explain why the greenseer should be able to taste the blood in the first place. Correct me if I am wrong but this is the only time Bran gets any other input from the weirnet than video/audio. The constant connection between the weirwoods and blood (the sap, the leaves, the seeds) allows for the possibility of blood playing some role.

I could argue that it was a real sacrifice and that Bran might find himself in a similar position soon enough, with Theon to be judged and sentenced by Stannis as Asha requests (what might have put the idea in her head, I wonder?) and under the impact of the vision, Bran will somehow prevent Theon's death (I guess covering him with ravens croaking something meaningful might do the trick).

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Well, I'm of two minds now. I lean towards blood sacrifice but Sweetsunray always makes me re-think my assumptions. :D

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4 hours ago, Ygrain said:

Bran will somehow prevent Theon's death (I guess covering him with ravens croaking something meaningful might do the trick).

I think Bran will reach out to Theon once he is brought before the heart tree. And given what Theon has experienced in the godswood in Dance, namely, that he heard the heart tree whisper his name, that he saw Bran’s face, that he finds comfort in the Old Gods knowing his name, added to his wish to atone, he will willingly allow Bran to skinchange into him. It’s one thing for a raven to say a few words, but whole detailed conversations would be trickier. The same goes for the heart tree itself. 

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1 hour ago, Ygrain said:

Mayhaps, but this still doesn't explain the use of a sickle and an old woman as an executioner. Even if she was a matriarch and thus the one to carry out the sentence the Stark way, why a sickle? And even if she is the one trained to listen to the tree/greenseer, why would she have to carry out the execution herself? Or perhaps it was an execution AND sacrifice?

The sickle is actually more of a sign that the woman is like a "tree gardener". Sickles were used to trim tree branches. It's also connected to the scythe, connected to both harvest and death. Our modern minds associate it with sacrifice, but it could indeed be the symbol of the executioner, as it is the symbol of death executing a life whose time has run out.

So we have her as tree keeper or associated as interpreter, regardless whether you believe it a sacrifice or execution. But if by the philosophy it's important that the person condeming someone to death also executes it, then she as interpreter of the greenseer is also one sharing the responsibility of the condemnation: hypothetically she could claim the greenseer condemned him, when he didn't for instance.

And yes, it could be kill two birds with one stone: execution + sacrifice (as Stannis tends to do), or it may be just an execution that we are prone to regard as a sacrifice because we seculars see the world in a similar way as maesters do.

But let's say that in a thousand years, Westerosi society has gone through changes and changes, and the Faith has become a forgotten religion except for stories about the Stranger and how he was worshiped in Septs (now ruinous buildings), and life has become so sacrosanct that no matter the crime your life is spared and you end up in a penal colony. Then someone through magical means witnesses Ned's execution (without sound), at the steps of Baelor's Sept and his head on display. Will they deem it a sacrifice to the stranger? His head on a spike an offering to the stranger? Or will they deem it an execution?

George has cleverly played around with both sacrifice and execution across a spectrum. We know for certain that Joffrey had Ned executed and it had nothing to do with religion, but he had it done at the steps of Baelor's Sept (over which the Faith did protest after). Was it any less barbaric than Victarion putting 7 living maidens on a skiff he set afire to both appease Rh'lorr and the Drowned God in aDwD? Of course not. Note: the Ironbon are actually the sole ones we can be certain of that they perform sacrifices of completely innocent lives that are not intermixed with execution. When Stannis executes the men in his ranks who ate the dead by burning them, himself an admitted atheist, he deems it an execution, while the Queen's Men call it a sacrifice to Rh'llorr. Which is it?

And I very much get the impression that George wants us to ask ourselves these questions: what makes something a religious sacrifice or not? And these are pretty much the arguments:

  • It's done before the tree. My reply: Yeah, but Joffrey had Ned executed at the steps of Baelor's sept, and it's still an execution in our mind.
  • It's the method in the case of burning people alive. My reply: Oh, we burned heretics and people accused of witchcraft and had them burned alive centuries ago. And yet none of us would consider them religious human sacrifice, but simple an execution method. Dany burns people alive with her dragons. None of it is human sacrifice.
  • It's done in the name of some god/religion. My reply: see previous comment and the inquisition.
  • It's a sacrifice if those doing it believe it to be so. My reply: okay, so if Stannis regards it an execution, but his followers regard it a human sacrifice, which is it then? If Stannis's beliefs make it an execution, then what does Theon's beliefs make the drowning of Tallhart - an execution or a human sacrifice?
  • It's the gender and age of the executioner. My reply: really? Is that your sole argument, basically on how it looks, and you cannot for one moment consider that George is using modern stereotypes of a hag against you?
  • The blade has only ceremonial use. My reply: sickles weren't always a ceremonial tool, they were at some point in time true tools, and it appears we're given a vision that pretty much belongs to the time that sickles would have been a common tool. Also: Ice was only a ceremonial tool, and yet Ned used it for executions only. 
  • It's a human sacrifice, when instead of a criminal the executioners are fine with killing an innocent. My reply: getting much warmer.

We readers actually only manage to be certain when we have the complete story of the circumstances of the event. We know pretty much every step of the way that led to Ned's execution at the steps of Baelor's Sept. And here's why we deem it an execution: everyone involved including the witnesses heard a man confess to a capital crime and everyone there present knew it to be an execution. We may still consider it barbaric as modern humans, but we understand that it was 100% an execution. Where it was performed, how it was performed and who performed it with what weapon (ceremonial Ice) makes no matter. If Ilyn Payne had been an old hag we'd still consider it an execution. If the hag used a sickle, we'd still consider it an execution. If the steps drank Ned's blood, we'd still consider it an execution. Hell, we even know the execution was wrong and the true criminal here is Cersei, not Ned Stark. And yet we regard it to be an execution, a wrongful one, but an execution nonetheless.

We readers can also positively conclude that the death of 7 maidens on a burning skiff in the middle of an ocean was 100% a human sacrifice - the girls were picked for their innocence, and all involved, including Victarion who ordered it done, regarded it to be a human sacrifice. It doesn't matter what method was used, that neither old hag or sickle were in sight. It doesn't even matter that Victarion accomplished with the human sacrifice what he aimed to do - get good winds in order to get to Meereen on time.

Anything between it, gets very murky. And I conclude that it's not how we readers look at it, that determines whether the killing of a man or woman is a sacrifice or execution. It are the minds of all involved during the event that determine which of the two it is. If the old hag, the captive, the man holding the captive and the greenseer witnessing it live at the time believed she's executing a criminal for his crimes, it's an execution. If the old hag, the captive, the man holding the captive and the greenseer believed it to be a human sacrifice at the time, it's a human sacrifice.

And that is how we can unravel the murky examples. Theon had both Tallhart and Septon Chayle drowned. Theon was angry with Tallhart, felt provoked into killing Tallhart. And despite not believing in the Drowned God whatsoever, he chose drowning over cutting his head off, and Theon himself regarded the drowning of Tallhart a human sacrifice, albeit to a god he didn't believe in.

And guess what: we don't know what the old hag believed they were performing, nor the captive, nor the greenseer of the time, nor the man holding him down. And we don't have any sound. Not that it matters - Bran doesn't speak Old Tongue, so he wouldn't have understood the language. We lack all the crucial information that we have for Ned's execution and the sacrifice of the 7 maidens by Victarion to determine why this man was killed. All we have are stereotypical imagery, and I'm very, extremely wary when it comes to George using stereotypical imagery in something that he muddied up so often in so many ways in other examples, and will continue to do so.

1 hour ago, Ygrain said:

A nice point about making the greenseer complicit but without support, and it doesn't explain why the greenseer should be able to taste the blood in the first place.

No more unsupported than any other assumption made by readers based on stereotypical imagery. At least I base it on a certain philosophy expressed in the books to construct it on. But yeah, it's a speculation.

As to the latter half: actually it does explain it within the perimeters of execution and the judge taking on the burden of his judgment. The greenseer can try to shut his eyes. He can put his hands on his ears and sing to himself to drown out the sounds. He cannot avoid the horror of the taste forced on him. It is after all a horror. Bran responds horrified. Do you think any greenseer initiated before Bran or the actual greenseer who lived during the time of the event were any less horrified? Do you believe they licked their lips and thought - Yeah! More! More! Keep it coming! They're not vampires.

1 hour ago, Ygrain said:

Correct me if I am wrong but this is the only time Bran gets any other input from the weirnet than video/audio. The constant connection between the weirwoods and blood (the sap, the leaves, the seeds) allows for the possibility of blood playing some role.

Yes, the blood plays a role, in that we are shown and told that someone's spirit/conscious/memory of its id returns to earth - the stone, the soil and the trees. With the blood flowing into the roots of the tree, and the greenseer tasting his blood, that person is now forever that greenseer's companion, and the many greenseers that come after him for as long as that weirwood lives. The greenseer is in no way allowed to forget the ghost of this dead man. It's comparable to a Faceless Man putting on the face of a dead person, and reliving the last moments of that dead person - their pain, their broken hopes, their humanity, their pettiness, their evil (depending on who they were).

You might consider that "reaching" for it, but we do get Varamyr's death experience in the prologue of aDwD, and we see Bran journeying towards the cave. We also get Leaf's explanations of what happens to the soul in the very same chapter that ends with Bran witnessing this particular event under discussion.

It's also based on someone else's blood that Bran off-page would have tasted: maester Luwin's. While vehemently denying the existence of greenseers, green dreams, the CotF and the Old Gods, in the end he becomes a convert and crawls towards the weirwood to await his death there, and of course his blood seeping into the soil and roots. Luwin wasn't a human sacrifice or an execution, but he was killed by Osha (a spearwife of the Free Folk who follows the Old Gods and having a role as a tree-speak translator) in an act of mercy. We saw no "magic" happen; because of it. Bran's powers did not magnify because of it. But with Leaf's explanation in aDwD we can now understand that Luwin's spirit and knowledge and wisdom and compassion is in the tree.

1 hour ago, Ygrain said:

I could argue that it was a real sacrifice and that Bran might find himself in a similar position soon enough, with Theon to be judged and sentenced by Stannis as Asha requests (what might have put the idea in her head, I wonder?) and under the impact of the vision, Bran will somehow prevent Theon's death (I guess covering him with ravens croaking something meaningful might do the trick).

Yes, you could argue it was a 100% human sacrifice as Theon and Vic performed, but you have no evidence for it, only assumptions based on stereotypical imagery. The same stereotypical imagery makes me question it, and I generally regard the vision as having a "cautionary tale" function in Bran's arc - we can derive at this because Bran is confronted with Theon in the godswood via Theon's POV and all of Bran's responses are compassionate, given what Bran had endured because of Theon. But the "cautionary tale" works just as well for any greenseer, if the vision was that of an execution by a man condemened by a greenseer.

I don't know whether Bran will attempt to save Theon. It all depends, I think how he plans to influence the people in Stannis's camp.

Jon said no to Stannis's offer of Winterfell, because he knew that if he accepted, Stannis would have the weirwood in the godswood of Winterfell burned down. He concluded that Winterfell belongs to the Old Gods. By refusing Stannis's offer, Jon made sure that he'd never be the one to okay the burning of the Winterfell tree by Stannis and the Queen's Men. However, Jon's refusal, does not lessen the danger of Stannis burning the weirwood, if and when he does conquer Winterfell. That particular problem still needs to be addressed. Hence, I'd expect Bran to convert Stannis and his followers to the Old Gods with the help of Theon.

Bran especially has been embroiled into a conversion to the Old Gods plot since his fall - first himself throughout aGoT and aCoK, but over the course of aCoK, Luwin becomes a convert too. Theon has been part of that conversion plot at Winterfell in aCoK. Yes, he performed human sacrifice when he drowned poor innocent Septon Chayle, but incidentally rid Winterfell of the Faith's first foothold into Winterfell. Septon Chayle was the first septon at Winterfell performing the Faith's rites in the very first sept ever built there. Chayle was a northerner and a sympathetic nice guy, which was a very smart choice by the Faith to send to Winterfell, if your intention is to convert Starks to the Faith - pretty songs, sweet kind helpful man who mostly works in the library. Sending a guy like the one the Night's Watch has is not so good idea to win the hearts of the Starks. Theon's obstinance in refusing to surrender and trusting "Reek", also resulted in the burning of Winterfell, the sept built for Catelyn along with it. But the weirwood is still standing, and in aDwD, Bran made Theon a convert as well. Miracles, especially miraculous knowledge are the way that both Rh'llor and greenseers make converts. If the pattern holds, then Bran will perform the miracle, but will have Theon as unwitting aid for it.  Despite what we assume, Bran already has a prepped crowd for it. The Queen's men are fanatical about Rh'llorr. They already believe in fortune telling and magical powers helping them out, though Stannis put the least fanatical and the more pragmatic in the highest positions.

Anyway, Bran only needs to show them via Theon that the Old Gods are even more helpful and more powerful than Rh'llor is not by clearing a blizzard, but by giving them undeniable crucial information. ( @kissdbyfire you've got me convinced now of your idea that Theon will surrender his mind to Bran and speak for him and reveal the secret way into Winterfell). If the Old Gods can do such a thing, you'd be nuts to burn the weirwood at Winterfell, and thus Stannis and his army will become believers of the Old Gods before they ever set foot within Winterfell.

Perhaps this will save Theon and he becomes a type of high priest for Bran so to speak (pun intended). But what gives me pause is Theon's request for mercy. From the exchange between weirwood and Theon, and the way Bran and Bloodraven as ravens excitedly clamor "tree! tree!" it is possible that along with the miracle comes Theon's sacrifice I get the impression that Bran accepted Theon's request for mercy. However, if that happens I think it will be an almost voluntarily act of Theon walking into a fire: the Old Gods spoke, and the fire god took him away. Of course, we also have Theon being the sole legal means for Asha to claim the kingsmoot that elected Euron null and void to take into consideration, and the fact that old Karstark walks and looks suspicously like Theon.

Anyhow, whatever happens, it could further blur the lines: mercy, self sacrifice, switcheroos further reveal that blood magic by human sacrifice ain't a necessary ingredient for green magic, but at best a theater performed to convert the minds of onlookers.

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1 hour ago, kissdbyfire said:

I think Bran will reach out to Theon once he is brought before the heart tree. And given what Theon has experienced in the godswood in Dance, namely, that he heard the heart tree whisper his name, that he saw Bran’s face, that he finds comfort in the Old Gods knowing his name, added to his wish to atone, he will willingly allow Bran to skinchange into him. It’s one thing for a raven to say a few words, but whole detailed conversations would be trickier. The same goes for the heart tree itself. 

Well, the face it the tree could just start to talk, too, if they start the blood sacrifice thing not with Theon but with the treacherous Karstarks - Arnolf, his son, and the grandsons who yet live. The idea that you can agree the be skinchanged sounds very unlikely, not to mention that Theon has no idea how that goes nor that it is possible.

If the weirwood and thus Bran himself, too, is watered with the blood and life of 4-6 people he might be able to do things he never could before.

Blood sacrifice is not necessary to be a skinchanger or greenseer, of course, but it can strengthen you. Just as Mel can do her vision stuff without killing people, but only produce shadow assassins if she drains a man of his life force and transforms it.

And to be sure, skinchangers pay for their 'special gift' with their humanity since they merge their souls with those of animals and thus become less than human. Greenseers are apparently marked by the gods (Bloodraven was an albino freak, Euron has one very weird eye, and Bran is a cripple) and don't live as long as the other Children of the Forest (if they are Children of the Forest, of course). Even innate magic comes with a price tag attached.

Theon has no issue with dying - he doesn't want to become a possessed freak. It seems they will not end up killing him, but that's likely not because he tries to save his life by speaking in tongues or pretending to be the young boy he murdered.

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Hey guys, just a food for thought ...

 

Then, as he watched, a bearded man forced a captive down onto his knees before the heart tree. A white-haired woman stepped toward them through a drift of dark red leaves, a bronze sickle in her hand.
"No," said Bran, "no, don't," but they could not hear him, no more than his father had. The woman grabbed the captive by the hair, hooked the sickle round his throat, and slashed. And through the mist of centuries the broken boy could only watch as the man's feet drummed against the earth …
but as his life flowed out of him in a red tide, Brandon Stark could taste the blood.

{Bran III ADWD - VERY LAST CANON EVENT GIVEN TO BRAN SINCE 2011}

 

"For the next step. For you to go beyond skinchanging and learn what it means to be a greenseer."
"The trees will teach him," said Leaf. She beckoned, and another of the singers padded forward, the white-haired one that Meera had named Snowylocks. She had a weirwood bowl in her hands, carved with a dozen faces, like the ones the heart trees wore. Inside was a white paste, thick and heavy, with
dark red veins running through it. "You must eat of this," said Leaf. She handed Bran a wooden spoon.
The boy looked at the bowl uncertainly. "What is it?"
"A paste of weirwood seeds."
Something about the look of it made Bran feel ill.
The red veins were only weirwood sap, he supposed, but in the torchlight they looked remarkably like blood. He dipped the spoon into the paste, then hesitated. "Will this make me a greenseer?"
"Your blood makes you a greenseer," said Lord Brynden. "This will help awaken your gifts and wed you to the trees."
Bran did want to be married to a tree :unsure: … but who else would wed a broken boy like him? :( A thousand eyes, a hundred skins, wisdom deep as the roots of ancient trees. A greenseer.

He ate.

{Earlier in Bran III ADWD}

 

dark red leaves = dark red Leaf
Leaf is a Children of the Forest, whose species are based on the evil Children of the Corn and their franchise image of a sickle.

 

Shout out to @Lost Melnibonean

Someone plays attention to details and clever writing!
Too bad he got silent treatment after that comment in 2015, as if people were too afraid to dive into Darker possibilities.

Everyone seemed like they kinda forgot GRRM emphasized that Jojen was missing in the cave.

Anyways, I'm done. You guys can carry on.

*cough cough Snowylocks killed Jojen and fed him to Bran in real time. Bloodraven & CotF are all liars cough cough*

Excuse me my cough. I think I ate something incorrectly.

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