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Black Crow

Heresy 233 A Walk on the White Sid[h]e

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5 hours ago, Black Crow said:

So, in short. are you suggesting that the Walkers, the Wights and other "phenomena" may not be players or pieces in the game, but rather unintended [or reckless] consequences of upsetting the natural order

In other words how are the WW sentient?  How are the wights controlled?  Emerging from the wood sounds like souls are held there until conditions allow for their release.

Quote

 

A Dance with Dragons - Bran III

"A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies," said Jojen. "The man who never reads lives only one. The singers of the forest had no books. No ink, no parchment, no written language. Instead they had the trees, and the weirwoods above all. When they died, they went into the wood, into leaf and limb and root, and the trees remembered. All their songs and spells, their histories and prayers, everything they knew about this world. Maesters will tell you that the weirwoods are sacred to the old gods. The singers believe they are the old gods. When singers die they become part of that godhood." 

So we are not just talking about weirwood trees or just the cotf given Varamyr's experience.  There is also a parallel here between Bran tasting the salt tear of the Black Gate and Sansa taking a crystalline snowflake on her tongue at the Eyrie.

The woods are also personified as the Whispering Wood or the Haunted Wood.  In aCoK, the trees have eyes again.

 

 

 

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6 hours ago, Black Crow said:

So, in short. are you suggesting that the Walkers, the Wights and other "phenomena" may not be players or pieces in the game, but rather unintended [or reckless] consequences of upsetting the natural order

Basically yes. They would not be players or pieces that can be directly controlled. If a player understands their behaviour they could lure them to setup traps in a similar way that we can use pheromones or lights to attract insects and animals. The WWs exhibit more complex behaviour than the wights but it might closer to pack behaviour or mimicry than sentience.

The real challenge for would be to find ways to survive the cold and restore the natural order, not defeat the WWs and wights in a new Battle for the Dawn.

Edited by Tucu

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While we are discussing references to complex systems and fractals@Aebram posted a great picture on another thread of the river basins in the US.

https://cdn.digg.com/images/c8512d4d97384cecba6dfe703f71067a_5ece2a5bb1a84fc1be76de893917ae21_1_post.jpeg

You can see the fractal-type patterns in the image.

GRRM associates the wildlings with liquid flows multiple times in the books. For example when they descend towards the Wall following the Milkwater

Quote

Still, he prayed his father's gods might spare him that bleak task. The host moved but slowly, burdened as it was by all the wildlings' herds and children and mean little treasures, and the snows had slowed its progress even more. Most of the column was out of the foothills now, oozing down along the west bank of the Milkwater like honey on a cold winter's morning, following the course of the river into the heart of the haunted forest.

and when Tormund's wildlings cross the Wall:

Quote

"You are a black-hearted bastard, Lord Crow." Tormund Horn-Blower lifted his own warhorn to his lips. The sound of it echoed off the ice like rolling thunder, and the first of the free folk began to stream toward the gate.

<...>

Amongst the stream of warriors were the fathers of many of Jon's hostages

<...>

By late afternoon the snow was falling steadily, but the river of wildlings had dwindled to a stream

So while GRRM personifies the trees, he reduces the wildlings to an example of a complex system. Not sure what GRRM means to tell us, but it is noteworthy.

Edited by Tucu

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On 1/16/2021 at 7:51 AM, Tucu said:

I have lately been hunting for hints that the WW and wights are emergent properties and behaviour of a complex and self organizing system that links the weirwoods, magical cold wind and souls.

GRRM uses a lot of words that seem to point towards complex system theory and its examples: "emerge", "swarming", "flocking", "icy tendrils", "icy fingers", "creeping", "flooding"; he also personifies several fractal structures like trees, snowflakes and rivers.

Yes, I should have said someone or something.  My general thought is that the collective consciousness of the Weirnet is creating the White Walkers.  My suspicion is that Bran’s eventual introduction into the Weirnet included, err will include,  all of the stories that Old Nan told Bran about.  The White Walkers, the Kingsguards, Symeon Star Eyes, etc.  And the White Walkers are modeled after these stories.

While Bran’s consciousness and sub consciousness may have been introduced in the future, the peculiar temporal nature of the Weirnet may have allowed his consciousness to affect the Weirnet throughout time.

Edited by Frey family reunion

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12 minutes ago, Frey family reunion said:

While Bran’s consciousness and sub consciousness may have been introduced in the future, the peculiar temporal nature of the Weirnet may have allowed his consciousness to affect the Weirnet throughout time.

This is fascinating too!

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14 hours ago, Tucu said:

Basically yes. They would not be players or pieces that can be directly controlled. If a player understands their behaviour they could lure them to setup traps in a similar way that we can use pheromones or lights to attract insects and animals. The WWs exhibit more complex behaviour than the wights but it might closer to pack behaviour or mimicry than sentience.

The real challenge for would be to find ways to survive the cold and restore the natural order, not defeat the WWs and wights in a new Battle for the Dawn.

I can see that, and to return to my OP, something about the Cold raises  the corpses of the dead [Wights], while the souls of skinchangers, who of course are not trapped in their dead bodies, become Walkers, because they can fashion new bodies from ice and snow.

If so two further wrinkles arise.

First the skinchanger's soul needs to be "intact" - it won't work if the original body died a long time ago soul has been absorbed by the last host

Secondly, if this is so Varamyr has potential to return as a Walker - and so has Jon Snow

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On 1/16/2021 at 5:57 PM, Tucu said:

Hi Wizz. Let's see if I can explain the patterns I am seeing.

Maybe I should start from the conclusion: GRRM is giving us hints that the wights and the WW are not beings that are designed or created by someone, but they come into existence on their own given the right environmental conditions. For the wights some mix of bodies, the magical cold and maybe the souls stored in the woods. For the WWs it would bea mix of the cold, white mist and souls again.

The hints I see are the use of terms related to self-organizing complex systems. The first one is from the AGOT prologue when the first WW "emerge" from the wood:

Then rest of the WWs also "emerge":

In Samwell I ASOS GRRM also uses the word "emerge" when the WW appears:

So we have a creature made of ice emerging from the dark of the wood, the shadows and/or the darkness. Emergence is a concept in philosophy and system theory. From Wikipedia:

Ice crystal formation is a classic example of emergence. For example check this picture of dendrites in a snowflake: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dendrite_(crystal)#/media/File:Dendrite.jpg

From there we can start pulling a lot of threads by looking for keywords related to emergence in self-organizing systems.

For example the word dentrite (as in the snowflake) comes from the greek word for tree and is also used for the nervous system cells in brains. GRRM personifies the trees all over the books:

The formation of leaves, branches and roots are also classic examples of emergence. And on ASOIAF the trees "remember" linking back to brains and dendrites.

Another example of emergence is swarming. In the battle in the fist GRRM describe the wights as swarms:

Then Coldhands' ravens are also described as swarms when they attack the wights:

One more example of emergence: creeping. In science it can describe two emergent behaviours: plants growing but also glacial movement and deformation. In the books it is used for the cold, the darkness, the shadows, the Wall and the trees (among others):

There are a lot more references to keywords related to emergence and complex systems but this post already got too long. Hopefully I am making some sense :-)

I would agree that GRRM seems to be very deliberate with his choice of words so I'm quite on board with this line of reasoning. I think this theory could also support @Frey family reunion 's theory that Bran has created these things to look like the things described in Old Nan's stories.

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Just another comment regarding fractals. What makes a pattern "fractal" is that its repeated and closer examination will reveal that the pattern continues to repeat into infinity. This is supposed to be the hallmark of a simulation. https://www.greggbraden.com/living-in-a-virtual-simulation/#

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17 hours ago, Frey family reunion said:

Yes, I should have said someone or something.  My general thought is that the collective consciousness of the Weirnet is creating the White Walkers.  My suspicion is that Bran’s eventual introduction into the Weirnet included, err will include,  all of the stories that Old Nan told Bran about.  The White Walkers, the Kingsguards, Symeon Star Eyes, etc.  And the White Walkers are modeled after these stories.

While Bran’s consciousness and sub consciousness may have been introduced in the future, the peculiar temporal nature of the Weirnet may have allowed his consciousness to affect the Weirnet throughout time.

I'm more with Tucu on this. I don't think that they are created or modelled by a party. far less an individual. The dead walk when they should be sleeping and the former skinchangers make their own new bodies, and if they share a family resemblance to Starks then that points to who they were/are 

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I like the idea that Bran had something to do with the creation of white walkers - either deliberately or on accident - due to Old Nan's stories. The verbiage "emerged" does seem to indicate they were created and the fractal pattern descriptors indicate a simulated reality. Even the ability to pierce the white walkers and see them disintegrate and blow away is like a break in the simulation. The repeating events could be explained as glitches in the matrix. :laugh:

Edited by Melifeather

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26 minutes ago, Melifeather said:

I like the idea that Bran had something to do with the creation of white walkers - either deliberately or on accident - due to Old Nan's stories. The verbiage "emerged" does seem to indicate they were created and the fractal pattern descriptors indicate a simulated reality. Even the ability to pierce the white walkers and see them disintegrate and blow away is like a break in the simulation. The repeating events could be explained as glitches in the matrix. :laugh:

Whilst I think it is possible that Bran/the weirnet had something to do with it, I disagree with your understanding of 'emerged' and 'fractal'.

It would depend on what we both mean by 'created', but to me it implies some sort of concious intention (or 'design'), whereas 'emerged' to me implies the opposite.  'Emergence' implies the spontaneous appearance of a phenomenon that was not easy to see from initial conditions or constituent parts.  That is not to say that something Bran chose to do couldn't lead to the emergence of WW, but I would not class that as creation.

With 'fractal', that is (as far as I am aware) a word Tucu used, not GRRM, so I don't think we can build theories on it.  Equally, to me, 'fractal' has more nature implications, not artificial. Fractals are used in simulations in order to make landscapes and objects look more natural.  That is because some of the original work on fractals in mathematics came from investigating properties of natural systems.  So, my understanding of a phrase such as 'fractal objects like trees or snowflakes' (paraphrasing) is that they are natural.

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8 hours ago, Black Crow said:

I can see that, and to return to my OP, something about the Cold raises  the corpses of the dead [Wights], while the souls of skinchangers, who of course are not trapped in their dead bodies, become Walkers, because they can fashion new bodies from ice and snow.

If so two further wrinkles arise.

First the skinchanger's soul needs to be "intact" - it won't work if the original body died a long time ago soul has been absorbed by the last host

Secondly, if this is so Varamyr has potential to return as a Walker - and so has Jon Snow

Yes, from the text of the ADWD prologue it looks like Varamyr's body didn't rise as a wight and his soul was for an instant in the snow and the clouds. Maybe under the right conditions the skinchangers can end as WWs. How much of their soul would linger after the transformation is an unknown for now.

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3 hours ago, oldbus said:

Whilst I think it is possible that Bran/the weirnet had something to do with it, I disagree with your understanding of 'emerged' and 'fractal'.

It would depend on what we both mean by 'created', but to me it implies some sort of concious intention (or 'design'), whereas 'emerged' to me implies the opposite.  'Emergence' implies the spontaneous appearance of a phenomenon that was not easy to see from initial conditions or constituent parts.  That is not to say that something Bran chose to do couldn't lead to the emergence of WW, but I would not class that as creation.

With 'fractal', that is (as far as I am aware) a word Tucu used, not GRRM, so I don't think we can build theories on it.  Equally, to me, 'fractal' has more nature implications, not artificial. Fractals are used in simulations in order to make landscapes and objects look more natural.  That is because some of the original work on fractals in mathematics came from investigating properties of natural systems.  So, my understanding of a phrase such as 'fractal objects like trees or snowflakes' (paraphrasing) is that they are natural.

I did not say that GRRM used the word fractal. I said fractal pattern descriptors - or rather words that imply fractal patterns such as rivers with their many off-shoot streams and brooks. While it is true that fractal patterns can be found in nature, they are often pointed to as evidence of a simulated reality.

Edited by Melifeather

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3 hours ago, Melifeather said:

I like the idea that Bran had something to do with the creation of white walkers - either deliberately or on accident - due to Old Nan's stories.

I am on two minds on this one. I think the wording points towards the WW being an emergent property of the trees-cold-souls system, so we should probably exclude creation intent and/or a design process. But Bran and other souls go into the trees so they could have some unintended influence on the features of the WWs as they are part of the environment from where the WWs emerge.

Edited by Tucu

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On 1/16/2021 at 11:57 PM, Tucu said:

Ice crystal formation is a classic example of emergence. For example check this picture of dendrites in a snowflake: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dendrite_(crystal)#/media/File:Dendrite.jpg

From there we can start pulling a lot of threads by looking for keywords related to emergence in self-organizing systems.

For example the word dentrite (as in the snowflake) comes from the greek word for tree and is also used for the nervous system cells in brains. GRRM personifies the trees all over the books:

The formation of leaves, branches and roots are also classic examples of emergence. And on ASOIAF the trees "remember" linking back to brains and dendrites.

Another example of emergence is swarming. In the battle in the fist GRRM describe the wights as swarms:

Then Coldhands' ravens are also described as swarms when they attack the wights:

One more example of emergence: creeping. In science it can describe two emergent behaviours: plants growing but also glacial movement and deformation. In the books it is used for the cold, the darkness, the shadows, the Wall and the trees (among others):

There are a lot more references to keywords related to emergence and complex systems but this post already got too long. Hopefully I am making some sense :-)

Thanks Tucu.  :)

Yeah, absolutely it's making more sense now. I look forward to seeing what you find, and indeed attempting to help in some way if I can.  

On 1/16/2021 at 11:57 PM, Tucu said:

the AGOT prologue when the first WW "emerge" from the wood:

Quote

A shadow emerged from the dark of the wood. It stood in front of Royce. Tall, it was, and gaunt and hard as old bones, with flesh pale as milk. Its armor seemed to change color as it moved; here it was white as new-fallen snow, there black as shadow, everywhere dappled with the deep grey-green of the trees. The patterns ran like moonlight on water with every step it took.

Then rest of the WWs also "emerge":

Quote

They emerged silently from the shadows, twins to the first. Three of them … four … five … 

In Samwell I ASOS GRRM also uses the word "emerge" when the WW appears:

Quote

A horse's head emerged from the darkness. Sam felt a moment's relief, until he saw the horse. Hoarfrost covered it like a sheen of frozen sweat, and a nest of stiff black entrails dragged from its open belly. On its back was a rider pale as ice.

So we have a creature made of ice emerging from the dark of the wood, the shadows and/or the darkness

This is very cool. I've seen some of this evidence used as symbolism supporting a theory that the Others/White Walkers emerged or came from the weirnet. The phrase often used is that 'the Others came from the trees', but some people got confused with that. The Others coming from the trees is basically saying from the weirwood trees or weirnet. 

@ravenous reader posited that symbolically the Others were inadvertently summoned from the trees by Will's whispered prayer in the AGOT Prologue. After the whispered prayer, the Others then emerged from the wood, hinting that they somehow originate from the trees. 

You can read Ravenous' original essay/thread here.

A group of us then continued to speculate (on Twitter mainly) finding examples of either actual Others emerging from the trees (examples you've already posted) or characters symbolically representing Others emerging from the trees. Plus anything else that may hint at such a happening. 

Some of the speculation was that the Others were somehow expelled from the weirwood trees when the first human greenseer entered the net. Or indeed, that it happened when an ancient human greenseer 'forced an entry' into the weirnet, pushing the White Walkers (or something that turned into White Walkers) out and usurping their position on the weirwood throne so to speak. A human forcing their way in to the net, in search of the magic and the power that would ultimately give them as a greenseer king in Westeros. 

Look forward to reading more of your thoughts.  :D

(I'll have to search for some of the quotes and ideas we came up with after a load of discussion. Can't remember it all straight off)  ^_^

Edited by Wizz-The-Smith

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29 minutes ago, Wizz-The-Smith said:

Thanks Tucu.  :)

Yeah, absolutely it's making more sense now. I look forward to seeing what you find, and indeed attempting to help in some way if I can.  

This is very cool. I've seen some of this evidence used as symbolism supporting a theory that the Others/White Walkers emerged or came from the weirnet. The phrase often used is that 'the Others came from the trees', but some people got confused with that. The Others coming from the trees is basically saying from the weirwood trees or weirnet. 

@ravenous reader posited that symbolically the Others were inadvertently summoned from the trees by Will's whispered prayer in the AGOT Prologue. After the whispered prayer, the Others then emerged from the wood, hinting that they somehow originate from the trees. 

You can read Ravenous' original essay/thread here.

A group of us then continued to speculate (on Twitter mainly) finding examples of either actual Others emerging from the trees (examples you've already posted) or characters symbolically representing Others emerging from the trees. Plus anything else that may hint at such a happening. 

Some of the speculation was that the Others were somehow expelled from the weirwood trees when the first human greenseer entered the net. Or indeed, that it happened when an ancient human greenseer 'forced an entry' into the weirnet, pushing the White Walkers (or something that turned into White Walkers) out and usurping their position on the weirwood throne so to speak. A human forcing their way in to the net, in search of the magic and the power that would ultimately give them as a greenseer king in Westeros. 

Look forward to reading more of your thoughts.  :D

(I'll have to search for some of the quotes and ideas we came up with after a load of discussion. Can't remember it all straight off)  ^_^

I have a "Waymar shot first" interpretation of the events in the Prologue. Waymar is from old First Men blood and he calls for the Gods sword in hand and then attacks a sentinel tree:

Quote

Gods!” he heard behind him. A sword slashed at a branch as Ser Waymar Royce gained the ridge. He stood there beside the sentinel, longsword in hand, his cloak billowing behind him as the wind came up, outlined nobly against the stars for all to see.

He continues by issuing a challenge and the woods answer in the True Tongue:

Quote

Down below, the lordling called out suddenly, “Who goes there?” Will heard uncertainty in the challenge. He stopped climbing; he listened; he watched.

The woods gave answer: the rustle of leaves, the icy rush of the stream, a distant hoot of a snow owl.

The Others made no sound.

In the world book we get this description of the True Tongue:

Quote

He was taken to a secret place to meet with them, but could not at first understand their speech, which was described as sounding like the song of stones in a brook, or the wind through leaves, or the rain upon the water. The manner in which Brandon learned to comprehend the speech of the children is a tale in itself, and not worth repeating here

After the WW "emerged from the dark of the wood" Waymar threatens the WW:

Quote

Will heard the breath go out of Ser Waymar Royce in a long hiss. “Come no farther,” the lordling warned.

and finally asks the WW to fight:

Quote

Ser Waymar met him bravely. “Dance with me then.” He lifted his sword high over his head, defiant

This is not how a godly man behaves; a Royce from Runestone should know better :-)

This interpretation links to GRRM using the term "white shadows" for protector figures: the Kingsguard, Ghost and maybe the WWs.

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8 hours ago, Tucu said:

He continues by issuing a challenge and the woods answer in the True Tongue:

Quote

Down below, the lordling called out suddenly, “Who goes there?” Will heard uncertainty in the challenge. He stopped climbing; he listened; he watched.

The woods gave answer: the rustle of leaves, the icy rush of the stream, a distant hoot of a snow owl.

The Others made no sound.

In the world book we get this description of the True Tongue:

Quote

He was taken to a secret place to meet with them, but could not at first understand their speech, which was described as sounding like the song of stones in a brook, or the wind through leaves, or the rain upon the water. The manner in which Brandon learned to comprehend the speech of the children is a tale in itself, and not worth repeating here

 

That's interesting.

Maybe that ability to communicate (something 'emergent' from the forest) in inherent in natural forest on Planetos.  Could the taming of forests in the south (or possibly the effect of the Wall) prevent this, and is why that men joining the Night's Watch sense the northern forest is 'haunted'?

Maybe the special nature of the weirwoods is that they allow other sentient beings to tap into this (whether the CotF or Bran etc), but actualy the woods naturally do this?

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