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Alyn Oakenfist

Theories and speculations about the Others

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On 11/14/2020 at 3:38 AM, Alyn Oakenfist said:

So as of now our knowledge of the Others is limited

- We now they have the power of necromancy

- We now they invaded once before

- We know they are tied to the night and the cold

- We now they're vulnerable to dragonglass and valyrian steel

And that's about it. So given the huge amount of unknown, what are your theories and speculations on the Others, to be demolished by GRRM when he published TWOW in 2050? What do you think is their purpose, why do you think they're invading and how will the story about then pan out?

We don't know they have the power of necromancy. The only time we've even seen a wight and an Other in the same place at the same time is the one riding the dead horse. But we never see him raise the horse, nor do we see him controlling it any differently from a normal horse. And neither does the horse exhibit any of the traits we see in human wights: no burning blue eyes, no compulsion to slay the living . . .

So, like much else about the Others, their necromancy capabilities are assumptive, not factual.

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I would argue that men did not win the Battle for the Dawn the first time around, and it is unlikely the resolution of this conflict will be a battle.

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"Now these were the days before the Andals came, and long before the women fled across the narrow sea from the cities of the Rhoyne, and the hundred kingdoms of those times were the kingdoms of the First Men, who had taken these lands from the children of the forest. Yet here and there in the fastness of the woods the children still lived in their wooden cities and hollow hills, and the faces in the trees kept watch. So as cold and death filled the earth, the last hero determined to seek out the children, in the hopes that their ancient magics could win back what the armies of men had lost. He set out into the dead lands with a sword, a horse, a dog, and a dozen companions. For years he searched, until he despaired of ever finding the children of the forest in their secret cities. One by one his friends died, and his horse, and finally even his dog, and his sword froze so hard the blade snapped when he tried to use it. And the Others smelled the hot blood in him, and came silent on his trail, stalking him with packs of pale white spiders big as hounds—"

A Game of Thrones - Bran IV

The Last Hero learns the language of the Children, which is presumably the same language as the Others.

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The Other said something in a language that Will did not know; his voice was like the cracking of ice on a winter lake, and the words were mocking.

A Game of Thrones - Prologue

Compare too:

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And they did sing. They sang in True Tongue, so Bran could not understand the words, but their voices were as pure as winter air.

A Dance with Dragons - Bran III

The language seems to be the sounds of nature, like listening to the wind in the trees, the True Tongue.

Learning to communicate with your enemy is, I believe, the ultimate lesson here.

 

Side note, since nobody else mentions it...

It seems the Giants can build barriers Others cannot get through.

The most obvious example is the Wall, supposedly built by Brandon the Builder with the help of giants.

But, there is also this odd tale for Old Nan:

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She remembered a story Old Nan had told once, about a man imprisoned in a dark castle by evil giants. He was very brave and smart and he tricked the giants and escaped . . . but no sooner was he outside the castle than the Others took him, and drank his hot red blood. Now she knew how he must have felt.

A Clash of Kings - Arya III

Above others have pointed out the apparent connection between the Children and the Others, so I think it is interesting to note this detail.

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"Before the First Men came all this land that you call Westeros was home to us, yet even in those days we were few. The gods gave us long lives but not great numbers, lest we overrun the world as deer will overrun a wood where there are no wolves to hunt them. That was in the dawn of days, when our sun was rising. Now it sinks, and this is our long dwindling. The giants are almost gone as well, they who were our bane and our brothers. The great lions of the western hills have been slain, the unicorns are all but gone, the mammoths down to a few hundred. The direwolves will outlast us all, but their time will come as well. In the world that men have made, there is no room for them, or us."

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 Dance with Dragons - Bran III

Now it seems clear to me that Men are the deer in this analogy (and the Others are the Wolves kept out of the wood, Westeros, by the Wall), and we know the Children have waged war before (they aren't some peaceful Tolkien Elves going quietly into the West).

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In Old Nan's stories, giants were outsized men who lived in colossal castles, fought with huge swords, and walked about in boots a boy could hide in. These were something else, more bearlike than human, and as wooly as the mammoths they rode. Seated, it was hard to say how big they truly were. Ten feet tall maybe, or twelve, Jon thought. Maybe fourteen, but no taller.

A Storm of Swords - Jon II

The giants we have seen have not been like those in Nan's stories however, at least not the ones we have seen. But, I for one, would not be terribly surprised to find a giant castle made of snow in the Winds of Winter.

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And later I dreamt that maid again, slaying a savage giant in a castle built of snow.

A Storm of Swords - Arya VIII

The Ghost of High Heart when listing her dreams of the deaths of kings mentions the giant in the castle made of snow, many take this as being fulfilled when Sansa tears the head off of Robert's doll, but I'm not convinced.

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They led the boy away. My lord husband, Sansa thought, as she contemplated the ruins of Winterfell. The snow had stopped, and it was colder than before. She wondered if Lord Robert would shake all through their wedding. At least Joffrey was sound of body. A mad rage seized hold of her. She picked up a broken branch and smashed the torn doll's head down on top of it, then pushed it down atop the shattered gatehouse of her snow castle. The servants looked aghast, but when Littlefinger saw what she'd done he laughed. "If the tales be true, that's not the first giant to end up with his head on Winterfell's walls."

A Storm of Swords - Sansa VII

As long as I am speculating wildly, I'd also suggest that the original greatsword Ice was made for a giant.

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"I am always proud of Bran," Catelyn replied, watching the sword as he stroked it. She could see the rippling deep within the steel, where the metal had been folded back on itself a hundred times in the forging. Catelyn had no love for swords, but she could not deny that Ice had its own beauty. It had been forged in Valyria, before the Doom had come to the old Freehold, when the ironsmiths had worked their metal with spells as well as hammers. Four hundred years old it was, and as sharp as the day it was forged. The name it bore was older still, a legacy from the age of heroes, when the Starks were Kings in the North.

A Game of Thrones - Catelyn I

 

Edited by Mourning Star

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"IF" the Others were originally human, then something occurred in the distant past to alter their physiology.  Across Westeros and Essos their are several examples of human populations with unique physiological aspects.  Leng, Ib, Basilisk Isles and Thousand Islands to name some.  The going thinking is that they just evolved within their geographic niches, but I don't buy it.  If a warded Storms End and an underpopulated Asshai are any indication the Age of Heroes was probably a nadir of magic capacity that I think has been baked into the genetics of entire cultures, Many of those examples also had nearby cave networks and in the case of Leng a history of communion with old ones.  We know from Bran's POV that their is high magic happening within these cave networks. 

Could the Others share a similar origin?

My thinking is that the Nightfort played host to the Others transformation during the Age of Heroes.  It's in close proximity to a cave networks figured in the dark stories of Gorne's path.  Its twice older than any castle on the Wall, which to me implies it predates the Wall.  Its noted that only its deepest vaults are of the original structure, indicating it was probably razed at one time, much like the nearby Fist of First Men.

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Maesters who served at the Nightfort whilst it was still in use made it plain that the castle had been expanded upon many times over the centuries and that little remained of its original structure save for some of the deepest vaults chiseled out of the rock beneath the castle's feet. - TWOIAF The Wall and Beyond

Their are also stories of Age of Heroes characters at the Nightfort, and before you discount it, consider the source.   

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The Nightfort had figured in some of Old Nan's scariest stories....where blind Symeon Star-Eyes had seen the hellhounds fighting - ASOS - Bran lV

Hellhounds fighting at the Nightfort, deep tunnel with potential old ones nearby and a Hero drawn to an extremely remote location.  Could be the origins of the Others, regardless, I want to read that story.

Fun fact: this is the ONLY Symeon Star-Eyes reference with any substance, all other mentions have him among lists of heroes with no context beyond being blind with jeweled eyes.  Which is further confusing as the only action attributed to the blind Symeon is seeing.

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3 hours ago, Bobity. said:

Fun fact: this is the ONLY Symeon Star-Eyes reference with any substance, all other mentions have him among lists of heroes with no context beyond being blind with jeweled eyes.  Which is further confusing as the only action attributed to the blind Symeon is seeing.

The Others take your eyes!

My theory is that Symeon Star-Eyes and Marwyn of the Mirror Sheild were Others wandering Westeros before the Wall went up. Thus the "Sapphires" for eyes and staff with blades at both ends aka a sword with no hilt (how sorcery is described), while a mirror shield could be a description of their camouflage (not to mention killing a dragon).

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On 11/17/2020 at 12:36 AM, CamiloRP said:

The Others do show up to try and take gillys baby tho,

Do they?

Or is that just the general advance of the Others finally reaching that far south? They were chasing the remnants of the NW after all.
What suggests they were actually there for the baby? No hard evidence.
They were there for anyone and everyone. 

On 11/17/2020 at 12:36 AM, CamiloRP said:

and if he doesn't give them to the Others, what does Craster do with them?

Leave them in the woods to die, thus ensuring no male grows up to compete with him.

On 11/17/2020 at 12:36 AM, CamiloRP said:

I'll accept that we aren't 100% sure of this things, but I think it makes a lot of sense to believe in them.

Sense? I do not think that word means what you think it means. ;)

More importantly, we weren't talking of belief, we were talking of what is actually known

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7 hours ago, corbon said:

Do they?

Or is that just the general advance of the Others finally reaching that far south? They were chasing the remnants of the NW after all.
What suggests they were actually there for the baby? No hard evidence.
They were there for anyone and everyone. 

Nah, I don't buy it, the Others where chasing after them, but they where safe enough in Craster's keep, after they leave, the Others sho up again.

 

7 hours ago, corbon said:

Leave them in the woods to die, thus ensuring no male grows up to compete with him.

Why not giving the m to the Watch? it'd make better allies of them. And why don't the Others ever attack Craster, why does one of his wives call them 'Craster's sons'? Why do his wives and the Watch think he gives them to the Others? What did he do with the sheep his wives think he gave to the Others?

 

7 hours ago, corbon said:

More importantly, we weren't talking of belief, we were talking of what is actually known

Yes, on this I agree with you, it's not a fact, since he don't actually see it with our own eyes, I made a mistake when refering to it as such. Yet it's as close to a fact as there can be without it being a fact. There's no reason to believe it isn't the case and there's a lot of reasons to believe it is. It's not impossible that it isn't but, IMHO, it's very, very unlikely.

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40 minutes ago, CamiloRP said:

Why not giving the m to the Watch? it'd make better allies of them. And why don't the Others ever attack Craster, why does one of his wives call them 'Craster's sons'? Why do his wives and the Watch think he gives them to the Others? What did he do with the sheep his wives think he gave to the Others?

Craster has genetic compatibility with them but it is doubtful whether the other free folk have this gene.  The north will be crawling with White Walkers if any baby can be converted to their kind.  We know of one person in the past who may have also had this genetic compatibility.  You guessed it.  The Night's King, who happened to be a Stark.  So the NK, Craster, and the Starks are of the same genes.  They are all Starks.  Craster and the NK were Starks.

Edited by Big P

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9 hours ago, Big P said:

Craster has genetic compatibility with them but it is doubtful whether the other free folk have this gene.  The north will be crawling with White Walkers if any baby can be converted to their kind.  We know of one person in the past who may have also had this genetic compatibility.  You guessed it.  The Night's King, who happened to be a Stark.  So the NK, Craster, and the Starks are of the same genes.  They are all Starks.  Craster and the NK were Starks.

I don't think that's the case, I think that the Others are breeding with the people they steal, rather than magically converting them into Others, after all, that's why the Freefolk steal babies.

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16 hours ago, CamiloRP said:

Nah, I don't buy it, the Others where chasing after them, but they where safe enough in Craster's keep,

What makes you think they were 'safe' at Crasters Keep, because it was Crasters Keep?
Recall that after the FotFM, the fleeing Watch remnants were being harassed by Others and wights. Then Sam slew Puddles. The harassment then appears to stop. Literally the next scene (in Sam's POV) they are at Craster's and have been for a number of days. Without losing any more except those already wounded.

It appears that the death of Puddles cause the Others and their minions to pull back from the pursuit and regroup.
Remember that there appear to be very few actual White Walkers. We've only ever see more than one at a time once that I recall, 6? in the prologue of AGoT. And there don't appear to be widespread reports of them operating in different places at the same time. They seem to be very few in number, slowly accumulating undead minions and slowly moving south and East from the Lands of Always Winter.
The loss of Puddles was likely rather significant for them.

16 hours ago, CamiloRP said:

after they leave, the Others sho up again.

Actually, before they leave.
They were planned to leave the next day.
The mutiny happened, then the Other's were coming, before they left.

Therefore Craster's Keep wasn't inherently safe. The Other's were coming even though they were there.

IMO the reason there was no further attack until the mutiny has more to do with dramatic writing than any other factor.
Perhaps Craster really did have a deal and it ended with his death? The mechanics required for such is why I think that option highly unlikely (see below).
Perhaps the Other's could somehow sense the confusion and chaos happening during the mutiny and began to move instantly as a good time to attack? Again, the mechanics of that make it unlikely - the Other's don't seem to have such senses.
Perhaps it was literally coincidence that the mutiny happened just as the Other's were coming? To unlikely IMO for a genuine coincidence.
Perhaps it was a literal (as in dramatic writing) coincidence of the timing. This, I can live with. Much like the 3 opponents of the KotLT coincidentally all being 'champion's' at the same time. 

16 hours ago, CamiloRP said:

Why not giving the m to the Watch? it'd make better allies of them.

That very option was discussed by those involved.
Craster: 

Quote
Sam opened and closed his mouth. "I . . . I . . . I only meant . . . if you didn't want him . . . his mouth to feed . . . with winter coming on, we . . . we could take him, and . . ."
"My son. My blood. You think I'd give him to you crows?"

Craster is not a friend of the Watch. He's a Wildling, they are his enemies, he hates them. But he tolerates them because they have the strength to destroy him but do not and they let him live the way he chooses.
Likewise, the Watch does not love Craster. The despise him, but they tolerate him because his Holdfast is a useful location when ranging. 

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"Yet it would be an ill day for us if Craster died. Your uncle could tell you of the times Craster's Keep made the difference between life and death for our rangers."

Craster's real relationship with the Watch is mutually agreed antipathy but working together anyway because its mutually beneficial. the "freind to the Watch' thing is a polite fiction to make things more palatable to other Watchmen.

Mormont: 

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Mormont followed. "How great a fool are you?" the old man said within, his voice choked and angry. "Even if Craster gave us the child, he'd be dead before we reached the Wall. We need a newborn babe to care for near as much as we need more snow. Do you have milk to feed him in those big teats of yours? Or did you mean to take the mother too?"

Further, giving his sons to the Watch wouldn't prevent them from growing up and becoming rivals - it could even make them far worse rivals. Grown watch-trained sons could either flee the watch and become wildlings (as Mance did) and end up in a similar accommodation with the watch as Craster has, or worse, give the Watch something of a claim to take over his holdfast for themselves, with a son as outpost commander.

16 hours ago, CamiloRP said:

And why don't the Others ever attack Craster,

They have not attacked any holdfast that far south/east yet. 

16 hours ago, CamiloRP said:

why does one of his wives call them 'Craster's sons'?

Because the wives believe that. Which doesn't make them right. More on that below.

16 hours ago, CamiloRP said:

Why do his wives and the Watch think he gives them to the Others?

The wives think it because there is no psychologically palatable alternative. And it fits the facts they know.

They Know:
1. Craster takes their sons out to the wood. And comes back without them.
2. Craster claims the sons are sacrifices to the Cold God, that he is a Godly Man, and that he (they too) is/are protected by them.
3. The White Walkers, or one of them at least, has been seen nearby, by the wives, but have not actually attacked.

Psychologically, the idea that the babes are a sacrifice to the Gods, that the Gods take them and make them into something greater, stronger, more powerful, is something most mothers could grudgingly accept. Thats why they call the White Walker's Craster's sons, the babe's brothers. 
There are two alternatives to this, both horrible and much more difficult for the wives to psychologically accept.
i) the babes are simply left to die, murdered in effect, purely so that Craster has no rival grow up
ii) the babes are given to monstrous beings who murder them (Old Nan's tales about them giving human babies to their undead slaves to kill ring a bell?) - effectively the wives trade their sons lives for their own.

I think Craster originally just took his sons into the wild to die, made up a narrative about sacrifices and protection by the gods in order to make it more palatable to the wives, and it grew and solidified from there. And at some stage the Other's were scouting around too, but didn't attack, probably at the same time as a sacrifice, lending authority to Craster's claims. I think he believes them hi Possible the Other's killed some of the babes. and sheep too. Not as part of any 'deal' or 'pact' but because thats what they do. I go with the hating all living things/hot blood theories myself.

Ok, so thats what I think. 
So here's some questions for the whole "its actually a Pact between Craster and the Others, and they really are his Sons" crowd.
How did Craster start this? Why? How did any arrangement begin. Why did the Others agree to this?
How does he communicate with the Others? Does he know their language? Do they know his? Is something written down? 
What do the Others do with the Sheep? Why are sheep satisfactory if its sons they really want?
How do the wives know any of this? Are they part of the deal? Are the present during sacrifices, or any other time? Or are they just repeating whatever Craster tells them?

Answers that involve Craster being a Stark require some actual evidence that he has Stark blood. There is none I've heard of. AFAIK that is 100% an idea borne of the necessity to explain why Craster's 'pact' works, whereas it should be evidence leading the theory, not teh theory made without evidence to fit a whole in another theory.

I don't think the wives have any part in it. Craster is not a sharer. They know what he tells them (about what happens when he takes sons away), no more. They also have seen at least one WW close by, probably more than once, and associate the 'rising cold' with their coming of the WW. Most likely that has happened several times coincident with sacrifices, though whether thats the horse or cart leading is impossible to tell.
I also don't think Craster can communicate in any way with the Others. There is no 'Pact'. Just what he perceives, a mix of his own lies and beliefs.

The Watch doesn't 'think' he gives his sons to the Others. Thats just what the wives told them. They think he gives his sons 'to the wood'. 

Quote
"Hearth tales. Does Craster seem less than human to you?"
In half a hundred ways. "He gives his sons to the wood."

 In other words, they think he's despicable, but not actually colluding with the very enemies of humanity that they were set up to defend against.

16 hours ago, CamiloRP said:

What did he do with the sheep his wives think he gave to the Others?

Same thing. Left them in the woods to die, possible bound or more, as a sacrifice. He's invested in the narrative now. Probably even believes it himself. Thats human nature.

16 hours ago, CamiloRP said:

Yes, on this I agree with you, it's not a fact, since he don't actually see it with our own eyes, I made a mistake when referring to it as such. Yet it's as close to a fact as there can be without it being a fact.

There is no actual evidence for it. Just an old woman's belief that is largely second hand-based interpretation with perhaps a few coincidental secondary data points (they've seen white walkers from afar before, but not been attacked) that support her belief.

16 hours ago, CamiloRP said:

There's no reason to believe it isn't the case and there's a lot of reasons to believe it is.

Actually, when you examine things closely, the exact reverse is true. There is no reason to believe it is the case. It does fit a few broader facts that are easily explained in other ways, but what makes it difficult to believe are the complete lack of veracity in the delivery to us, the mechanics of setting it up and a few 'awkward' facts that just don't make sense like the apparently satisfactory substitute of sheep for babies.

16 hours ago, CamiloRP said:

It's not impossible that it isn't but, IMHO, it's very, very unlikely.

I think you should look more closely, not just at the evidence, but also the veracity of the verbal evidence especially. How is that known by those who 'know' it. How does it fit the awkward facts (sheep, as one example), not just the easy facts. What are the alternatives, and how do they fit the facts, all of the facts. How do the various possibilities fit with the characters involved and their situations?

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10 minutes ago, corbon said:

What makes you think they were 'safe' at Crasters Keep, because it was Crasters Keep?
Recall that after the FotFM, the fleeing Watch remnants were being harassed by Others and wights. Then Sam slew Puddles. The harassment then appears to stop. Literally the next scene (in Sam's POV) they are at Craster's and have been for a number of days. Without losing any more except those already wounded.

It appears that the death of Puddles cause the Others and their minions to pull back from the pursuit and regroup.
Remember that there appear to be very few actual White Walkers. We've only ever see more than one at a time once that I recall, 6? in the prologue of AGoT. And there don't appear to be widespread reports of them operating in different places at the same time. They seem to be very few in number, slowly accumulating undead minions and slowly moving south and East from the Lands of Always Winter.
The loss of Puddles was likely rather significant for them.

That's your guess, based on the death of Puddles (great name by the way), but that's just it, it certainly could be the case, but it can also be that the Other's don't go into Craster's Keep, for the former the only evidence is that they stop after their death, for the latter the evidence is that they stopped when they got into Craster's and the many times we've been told Craster has a deal with them. If they where worried for their safety, they could still have sent wights, scores of them, like they did in TFOTFM, and they would have won. And if they where so worried about dying, why did they attack Sam, the one who killed Puddles, and send so little forces against him?

 

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Actually, before they leave.
They were planned to leave the next day.
The mutiny happened, then the Other's were coming, before they left.

I don't think the Others where spying on them hoping to learn when they would leave, it would be easier to stand just outside enough as to not reveal their position or break the deal with Craster, then, when the Watch leaves, they attack them.

 

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Therefore Craster's Keep wasn't inherently safe. The Other's were coming even though they were there.

But, even tho they where at their heals in the previous chapter, they never attacked them after days in Craster's Keep. And Mormont knows this too, or else he would have never stayed so long in such a poor position with tired, wounded and scared men when he knows the force that defeated him in TFOTFM is coming for them.

 

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That very option was discussed by those involved.
Craster: 

Quote
Sam opened and closed his mouth. "I . . . I . . . I only meant . . . if you didn't want him . . . his mouth to feed . . . with winter coming on, we . . . we could take him, and . . ."
"My son. My blood. You think I'd give him to you crows?"

Craster is not a friend of the Watch. He's a Wildling, they are his enemies, he hates them. But he tolerates them because they have the strength to destroy him but do not and they let him live the way he chooses.
Likewise, the Watch does not love Craster. The despise him, but they tolerate him because his Holdfast is a useful location when ranging. 

Quote

"Yet it would be an ill day for us if Craster died. Your uncle could tell you of the times Craster's Keep made the difference between life and death for our rangers."

Craster's real relationship with the Watch is mutually agreed antipathy but working together anyway because its mutually beneficial. the "freind to the Watch' thing is a polite fiction to make things more palatable to other Watchmen.

Freefolk don't consider Craster one of them, and he doesn't seem to consider himself one of them either. Lastly, the Watch and the Freefolk aren't enemies, the Watch is there to prevent the Freefolk from crossing, but Craster has no intentions of crossing the Wall, so there shouldn't be any enmity between them, in fact Craster profits a lot from the Watch, he should want them to exist.

 

Quote

Mormont: 

Quote

Mormont followed. "How great a fool are you?" the old man said within, his voice choked and angry. "Even if Craster gave us the child, he'd be dead before we reached the Wall. We need a newborn babe to care for near as much as we need more snow. Do you have milk to feed him in those big teats of yours? Or did you mean to take the mother too?"

 

 

Mormont also says:

Quote
"All the rangers," Mormont repeated. "You think I ought to stop him. Kill him if need be." The Old Bear sighed. "Were it only that he wished to rid himself of some mouths, I'd gladly send Yoren or Conwys to collect the boys. We could raise them to the black and the Watch would be that much the stronger. But the wildlings serve crueler gods than you or I. These boys are Craster's offerings. His prayers, if you will."

 

27 minutes ago, corbon said:

Further, giving his sons to the Watch wouldn't prevent them from growing up and becoming rivals - it could even make them far worse rivals. Grown watch-trained sons could either flee the watch and become wildlings (as Mance did) and end up in a similar accommodation with the watch as Craster has, or worse, give the Watch something of a claim to take over his holdfast for themselves, with a son as outpost commander.

Craster's Keep has poor defenses and only one man to defend it, yet no one has attacked him, no Freefolk, Wight, Black Brother or Other, why would he fear them? 

 

Quote

They have not attacked any holdfast that far south/east yet. 

They attacked Sam further south in Whitetree (I know it's not a holdfast, weel, it is, but it's abandoned, bear with me). And they where just attacking the Watch not so far north from there. Why the difference with Craster's Keep? as I said, it has poor defenses, and the Others have suffered only one casualty and little Wight casualties since they attacked the Fist, why not continue the attack? they have even more of a reason, since Sam discovered a way to kill them.

 

Quote

Because the wives believe that. Which doesn't make them right. More on that below.

The wives think it because there is no psychologically palatable alternative. And it fits the facts they know.

I don't think it's more palatable, giving your babies to monsters (from their point of view) that can do anything to them, rather than just killing them, specially with how popular mercy killing is in Freefolk society.

 

Quote

They Know:
1. Craster takes their sons out to the wood. And comes back without them.
2. Craster claims the sons are sacrifices to the Cold God, that he is a Godly Man, and that he (they too) is/are protected by them.
3. The White Walkers, or one of them at least, has been seen nearby, by the wives, but have not actually attacked.

We don't actually know what they know.

 

Quote

Psychologically, the idea that the babes are a sacrifice to the Gods, that the Gods take them and make them into something greater, stronger, more powerful, is something most mothers could grudgingly accept.

But they don't, they mourn and fear for their babies. Gilly is absolutely terrified, that's not something that one would do if they actually believed this.

 

Quote

Thats why they call the White Walker's Craster's sons, the babe's brothers. 
There are two alternatives to this, both horrible and much more difficult for the wives to psychologically accept.
i) the babes are simply left to die, murdered in effect, purely so that Craster has no rival grow up
ii) the babes are given to monstrous beings who murder them (Old Nan's tales about them giving human babies to their undead slaves to kill ring a bell?) - effectively the wives trade their sons lives for their own.I think Craster originally just took his sons into the wild to die, made up a narrative about sacrifices and protection by the gods in order to make it more palatable to the wives, and it grew and solidified from there.

It makes no sense for Craster to do such a thing, the Watch believing it is the most likely reason to end his lucrative deal with them.

 

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And at some stage the Other's were scouting around too, but didn't attack, probably at the same time as a sacrifice, lending authority to Craster's claims. I think he believes them hi Possible the Other's killed some of the babes. and sheep too. Not as part of any 'deal' or 'pact' but because thats what they do. I go with the hating all living things/hot blood theories myself.

If they hate all living things (which makes them a boring villain) why didn't they kill Craster? it must be easier than killing two NW's men.

 

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Ok, so thats what I think. 
So here's some questions for the whole "its actually a Pact between Craster and the Others, and they really are his Sons" crowd.
How did Craster start this? Why? How did any arrangement begin. Why did the Others agree to this?
How does he communicate with the Others? Does he know their language? Do they know his? Is something written down? 
What do the Others do with the Sheep? Why are sheep satisfactory if its sons they really want?

We don't know, it's part of the mystery, but I do not find it far fetched that Craster speaks Other or that the Others speak common. We don't know what the Others want (my money is more population) so we can't know why they accepted.

 

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How do the wives know any of this? Are they part of the deal? Are the present during sacrifices, or any other time? Or are they just repeating whatever Craster tells them?

Any of these could be true and it would make sense for me, except for the bold bit. Craster goes to the woods with the babes, comes back without them, some of them might see the Others, some (the oldest) might have started the practice with him.

 

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Answers that involve Craster being a Stark require some actual evidence that he has Stark blood. There is none I've heard of. AFAIK that is 100% an idea borne of the necessity to explain why Craster's 'pact' works, whereas it should be evidence leading the theory, not teh theory made without evidence to fit a whole in another theory.

I don't think he's a Stark, he might be, but there's no reason to think that.

 

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Same thing. Left them in the woods to die, possible bound or more, as a sacrifice. He's invested in the narrative now. Probably even believes it himself. Thats human nature.

This makes little sense. Even if he's just maintaining the lie, he has no reason to waste good sheep in it, as babies are proof enough, and he does like mutton.

 

 

 

 

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3 hours ago, CamiloRP said:

That's your guess, based on the death of Puddles (great name by the way)

No credit to me for the name, its so old I've not the faintest idea who started it.

3 hours ago, CamiloRP said:

, but that's just it, it certainly could be the case, but it can also be that the Other's don't go into Craster's Keep,

Agreed. Its an alternative theory, not a proven fact. But it stands up, far better than yours does, with all the known data points.

Which doesn't mean you have to accept it over yours. But does mean that claims of yours being as close to a 'fact' as you can get etc are nonsense. 

3 hours ago, CamiloRP said:

for the former the only evidence is that they stop after their death, for the latter the evidence is that they stopped when they got into Craster's

Except the attacks stopped before they got to Craster's, as best we can tell. Sam didn't slay Puddles just outside of Craster's. At that stage the NW he was with were lost and just used the coming dawn as a direction to head East and maybe then they'd find Mormont. And Sam goes back into one step at a time mode.
Next scene they are safely ensconced in Crasters. We don't know how far away they were from Craster's at the slaying, possibly days and days and 100km or more away. Or possibly just a day or two and only a few km away. The point being we can't safely call Craster's the defining point of attack cease-age.

3 hours ago, CamiloRP said:

and the many times we've been told Craster has a deal with them.

Have we now?

By who? Saying what exactly?

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Mormont leaned forward. "Every village we have passed has been abandoned1. Yours are the first living faces we've seen since we left the Wall. The people are gone . . . whether dead, fled, or taken, I could not say. The animals as well. Nothing is left. And earlier, we found the bodies of two of Ben Stark's rangers only a few leagues from the Wall. They were pale and cold, with black hands and black feet and wounds that did not bleed. Yet when we took them back to Castle Black they rose in the night and killed. One slew Ser Jaremy Rykker and the other came for me, which tells me that they remember some of what they knew when they lived, but there was no human mercy left in them."
The woman's mouth hung open, a wet pink cave, but Craster only gave a snort. "We've had no such troubles here . . . and I'll thank you not to tell such evil tales under my roof. I'm a godly man, and the gods keep me safe2. If wights come walking, I'll know how to send them back to their graves3. Though I could use me a sharp new axe." He sent his wife scurrying with a slap on her leg and a shout of "More beer, and be quick about it."

1. (side note) Villages (not holdfasts) had been abandoned - most wildlings did head to the Frostfangs to Join Mance. 

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"That Mance Rayder?" Craster spit into the fire. "King-beyond-the-Wall. What do free folk want with kings?" He turned his squint on Mormont. "There's much I could tell you o' Rayder and his doings, if I had a mind. This o' the empty villages, that's his work. You would have found this hall abandoned as well, if I were a man to scrape to such. He sends a rider, tells me I must leave my own keep to come grovel at his feet. I sent the man back, but kept his tongue. It's nailed to that wall there." He pointed. "Might be that I could tell you where to seek Mance Rayder. If I had a mind." The brown smile again. "But we'll have time enough for that. You'll be wanting to sleep beneath my roof, belike, and eat me out of pigs."

2. Craster says he is a Godly man and the Gods keep him safe. He does not claim a pact, only faith.
3. Craster indicates he will kill any wights that come around - so he's not 'aligned' with their masters, at least in his eyes. 

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There had been no attacks while they had been at Craster's, neither wights nor Others. Nor would there be, Craster said. "A godly man got no cause to fear such. I said as much to that Mance Rayder once, when he come sniffing round. He never listened, no more'n you crows with your swords and your bloody fires. That won't help you none when the white cold comes. Only the gods will help you then. You best get right with the gods."

Again, all that Craster indicates is that he is a godly man and thus safe. He makes no indication of a 'pact' or deal any formal agreement, ever. All he ever does is indicate his faith in the (cold) gods.

 Then there are the wives...

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"For the baby, not for me. If it's a girl, that's not so bad, she'll grow a few years and he'll marry her. But Nella says it's to be a boy, and she's had six and knows these things. He gives the boys to the gods. Come the white cold, he does, and of late it comes more often. That's why he started giving them sheep, even though he has a taste for mutton. Only now the sheep's gone too. Next it will be dogs, till . . ." She lowered her eyes and stroked her belly.
"What gods?" Jon was remembering that they'd seen no boys in Craster's Keep, nor men either, save Craster himself.
"The cold gods," she said. "The ones in the night. The white shadows."

No mention of any pact or deal or agreement. Just a man sacrificing children to the 'gods'. And not even any details of that.

So the fact is, we never once hear of any 'deal' Craster has. All we hear is that he thinks he's godly and thus safe, and that he sacrifices his boys (and sheep) to the gods. Thats all.

And most of it is hearsay, which then gets repeated a lot by those who heard it, which reinforces the idea, but doesn't actually provide additional data points..
 

3 hours ago, CamiloRP said:

If they where worried for their safety, they could still have sent wights, scores of them, like they did in TFOTFM, and they would have won. And if they where so worried about dying, why did they attack Sam, the one who killed Puddles, and send so little forces against him?

Not sure what you are arguing here, its a bit irrelevant.
The facts on the ground is that the Others and their wights pulled back from the Watch for a time after the death of Puddles (often nicknamed Ser Puddles BTW). The exact reason why, is irrelevant, mostly because its indeterminable at this stage. The point is that the argument that the watch was not attacked at Craster's because Craster's was protected by a 'deal' doesn't fit the facts. They were 'not attacked' from some time before they got back to Craster's until a point while they were still at Craster's. Being at Craster's is not the point of difference either when the attacks end or when they start again.

3 hours ago, CamiloRP said:

I don't think the Others where spying on them hoping to learn when they would leave, it would be easier to stand just outside enough as to not reveal their position or break the deal with Craster, then, when the Watch leaves, they attack them.

Sure. Except thats not what happened is it. Before the Watch left, the Other's were coming. But the Watch fled Crasters Keep and got away. They weren't ambushed on the way out.

3 hours ago, CamiloRP said:

But, even tho they where at their heals in the previous chapter, they never attacked them after days in Craster's Keep.

Yes. Or days before Craster's Keep. But they did attack while they were still at Craster's keep.
So there was a lull. The attacks stopped, then the attacks started again. They stopped well before Craster's Keep was reached and the started while they were still at Craster's Keep. 
Ergo Craster's Keep is not a relevant factor in what stopped and started the attacks.

3 hours ago, CamiloRP said:

And Mormont knows this too, or else he would have never stayed so long in such a poor position with tired, wounded and scared men when he knows the force that defeated him in TFOTFM is coming for them.

The attacks had stopped. He didn't know whether they would resume or the pursuit had been called off. Meanwhile he had wounded men who would definitely die if they continued, and most of his unwounded men were at the point of exhaustion. 
So he halted at Craster's a place they could have a fire and some food and rest for a while, regathered what strength they could, cared for the worst wounded, and (just) before they were ready to leave, then were attacked again.

3 hours ago, CamiloRP said:

Freefolk don't consider Craster one of them, and he doesn't seem to consider himself one of them either.

He does.

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Their host gave a nasty smile, showing a mouthful of broken brown teeth. "And what would we do there, serve you at supper? We're free folk here. Craster serves no man."

Craster is a wildling as is anyone north of the wall. The wildlings are not a coherent 'people', though they do include several coherent groups, such as the Thenns, Hornfoots etc. But included in their numbers are smaller individual groups who trust no one, including other wildlings. Craster is one such. 
He hasn't 'joined' Mance's group yet, hence he's not one of 'them', but he is definitely Free Folk. No one says otherwise.
 

3 hours ago, CamiloRP said:

Lastly, the Watch and the Freefolk aren't enemies,

Err, yes they are! 
Jon's turned that around in ADwD (partly at least), but the Watch and the Free Folk have been enemies for generations. They hate each other, for good reason.

3 hours ago, CamiloRP said:

the Watch is there to prevent the Freefolk from crossing,

Hence the rangings...

3 hours ago, CamiloRP said:

but Craster has no intentions of crossing the Wall, so there shouldn't be any enmity between them, in fact Craster profits a lot from the Watch, he should want them to exist.

I think you should reread a bit.

3 hours ago, CamiloRP said:

Mormont also says:

Fair cop. The Watch would take boys (when they were a bit older) happily. But Craster doesn't want that.  So there it is.

3 hours ago, CamiloRP said:

Craster's Keep has poor defenses and only one man to defend it, yet no one has attacked him, no Freefolk, Wight, Black Brother or Other, why would he fear them? 

You make the point for me.
His holdfast is actually quite weak. It could easily be taken. So Craster fears. As he should. He's an arse, friend to no one, despised widely. 

No one does though, why is that? Well, he's a long way from anyone for a start. Not a lot of profit to take, and a lot of effort needed for the Wildlings.
The Others and their Wights have not reached that far south/southeast  in numbers yet. They have been seen, but attacks that far south/east seem to have been limited to isolated parties caught in the open. To that point at least.
The Watch? His holdfast is useful to them, so long as he stays 'friendly'. They don;t actually want to take it off him - then they'd need to garrison and defend it from other wildlings.

Basically Craster is the little awkward neutral in the middle that no one likes but so long as he's mildly useful and not annoying its worth no one's effort to destroy him.

3 hours ago, CamiloRP said:

They attacked Sam further south in Whitetree (I know it's not a holdfast, weel, it is, but it's abandoned, bear with me).

Thats later. 

3 hours ago, CamiloRP said:

And they where just attacking the Watch not so far north from there.

Oh its far. The FotFM is further from Craster's Keep than Craster's is from the wall, roughly doubly far. About 200km, roughly. 

3 hours ago, CamiloRP said:

Why the difference with Craster's Keep? as I said, it has poor defenses,

I've already shown that Craster's Keep is not the point of difference. 

3 hours ago, CamiloRP said:

and the Others have suffered only one casualty

One out of how many? Its entirely possible that Puddles was the only Other involved in the pursuit.
Even if they were all there (I have a vague recollection that the Wildlings had noticed an easing of pressure on them at the time of the battle), they don't expect any casualties. Losing an Other might be a huge shock. It also might be a huge disruption. Do wights die when the Other that animated them dies?

3 hours ago, CamiloRP said:

and little Wight casualties

Well, we don't know that. Could be that all of Wights in the local area were de-animated by the death of Puddles, for example.

3 hours ago, CamiloRP said:

since they attacked the Fist, why not continue the attack? they have even more of a reason, since Sam discovered a way to kill them.

They were continung the attack. Then Sam killed Puddles and they stopped.

I doubt they knew how Puddles died. Or anything about Sam. But they undoubtedly had an unexpected setback and undoubtedly paused their attacks for whatever reason.

3 hours ago, CamiloRP said:

I don't think it's more palatable, giving your babies to monsters (from their point of view) that can do anything to them, rather than just killing them, specially with how popular mercy killing is in Freefolk society.

You seem to miss the point that the more palatable option isn't giving the babies to monsters 'who could do anything to them', its sacrificing them to Gods who make them into mighty beings. Fearsome beings still, but powerful.

3 hours ago, CamiloRP said:

We don't actually know what they know.

Not all or exactly what they know, but we do know that they know these things.

3 hours ago, CamiloRP said:

But they don't, they mourn and fear for their babies. Gilly is absolutely terrified, that's not something that one would do if they actually believed this.

Sure it is. Its still a loss for them, especially Gilly.
Its just a more bearable loss than the alternatives.
Thats normal psychology. The loss is going to happen, no way around it. So all thats left s a way to make it more palatable rather than less palatable. To help justify one's actions, or inactions. What makes exchanging your baby for "protection" worthwhile?

3 hours ago, CamiloRP said:

It makes no sense for Craster to do such a thing, the Watch believing it is the most likely reason to end his lucrative deal with them.

Are you making my argument now?
The watch does believe the alternatives, and they still keep their peace with that.
Your theory about their being an actual Pact s far far worse from the Watch's pov. Thats a much bigger risk from Craster's pov.

3 hours ago, CamiloRP said:

If they hate all living things (which makes them a boring villain) why didn't they kill Craster? it must be easier than killing two NW's men.

Because he has a holdfast. He has a secure fire. He might have more resources that they can't see. He might even have dragonglass.
Because they are just small scouting parties when they have come around before, without their undead army.
Because inside a kept holdfast they can't freeze the fire out with their killing cold.
A kept Holdfast represents unknowns and therefore risks. No sense in attacking it without the right forces. 

The 'hates all living things' btw, comes from Old Nan's stories. I don't take it as gospel, it just fits their observed behaviour.

3 hours ago, CamiloRP said:

We don't know, it's part of the mystery, but I do not find it far fetched that Craster speaks Other

Seriously? Where did he learn it? Who from? Who keeps that lore? Why is it never mentioned by anyone? Why are there no hints from GRRM?

3 hours ago, CamiloRP said:

or that the Others speak common.

Thats possible, admittedly. I doubt it, but its not utterly implausible, like the idea of Craster speaking Other is. Craster is nothing more than a Wilding bastard who made his own place. There is no plausible route to him 'learning' "Other". Certainly not without some other hints or suggestions of such lore being available somewhere.

3 hours ago, CamiloRP said:

We don't know what the Others want (my money is more population) so we can't know why they accepted.

In other words, lets just make a bunch of shit up completely because we don't know anything? Lets go against what we see with our eyes, what we hear from character's personal experience, what the old stories tell us? 
Where is the indication that the Other's make deals? - there is none anywhere else. They are a merciless destructive force to everyone (and by the evidence we've seen, any creature) that crosses their path.
Where is the indication that Craster made a deal?  - there actually isn't any, even from Craster. 
How does such deal come about? Who approaches who first? Why Craster and no one else? Why do sheep work just as well as sons? Why is there no indication of any other such deals, not even in the stories?

3 hours ago, CamiloRP said:

Any of these could be true and it would make sense for me, except for the bold bit. Craster goes to the woods with the babes, comes back without them, some of them might see the Others, some (the oldest) might have started the practice with him.

There is no indication from any of the wives about personal experience with this. It doesn't fit Craster at all to include them. The only personal experience they have indicated is that at some stage some of them have seen the White Shadows with glowing blue eyes. 
There is no more detailed or clear description like they've actually met with the creatures, just the sort of far-seen glimpses description.

So what we have is Craster goes to the woods with the babes. Not with the wives. He comes back without the babes. He claims they babes are sacrifices to the cold gods. The Other's are seen from afar by wives. His holdfast is not attacked It all fits together in their eyes. But they don't actually know any of this, just what Craster tells them. Belief is not knowledge.

But all that actually happened was Craster went into the woods and sacrificed the babes, perhaps actively, more likely passively.. Sometimes the WW were around at the time. Perhaps they even killed some of the babes after he left.
None of which shows any indication of any actual meeting, or deal, between Craster and the Others.  

3 hours ago, CamiloRP said:

I don't think he's a Stark, he might be, but there's no reason to think that.

Ok. Its the usual reason given for why he's the special one that has a 'deal' when the Other's kill anything else living they meet. I was just trying to head that nonsense off, or at least drive it straight to the next level, rather than waste an exchange without evidence or reasoning. :)

3 hours ago, CamiloRP said:

This makes little sense. Even if he's just maintaining the lie, he has no reason to waste good sheep in it, as babies are proof enough, and he does like mutton.

He's not just 'maintaining the lie'. He's keeping faith with his beliefs. Which do not include, by his own indication, any actual deal or meeting. 

A little mutton lost to stay a 'godly' man, obviously protected by the gods? Excellent deal.

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9 hours ago, corbon said:

No credit to me for the name, its so old I've not the faintest idea who started it.

Agreed. Its an alternative theory, not a proven fact. But it stands up, far better than yours does, with all the known data points.

Which doesn't mean you have to accept it over yours. But does mean that claims of yours being as close to a 'fact' as you can get etc are nonsense. Except the attacks stopped before they got to Craster's, as best we can tell. Sam didn't slay Puddles just outside of Craster's. At that stage the NW he was with were lost and just used the coming dawn as a direction to head East and maybe then they'd find Mormont. And Sam goes back into one step at a time mode.

We don't know that the attacks stopped right after the death of Puddles, that's what I'm saying. We know they stopped in between their death and the Wacth's arrival at Craster's. I explained why, IMHO, it makes more sense that the attacks stopped at Craster's rather than just after losing one man.

 

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Next scene they are safely ensconced in Crasters. We don't know how far away they were from Craster's at the slaying, possibly days and days and 100km or more away. Or possibly just a day or two and only a few km away. The point being we can't safely call Craster's the defining point of attack cease-age.

I think it's not that far, as they had traveled enough that some people where dropping, yet Sam is able to continue to Craster's. Also, the wounded shouldn't have reached Craster's if they where that far, some wounded has already died in Sam's first POV, so the rest shouldn't be able to stay alive much longer in the same conditions.

 

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Have we now?

By who? Saying what exactly?

1. (side note) Villages (not holdfasts) had been abandoned - most wildlings did head to the Frostfangs to Join Mance. 

2. Craster says he is a Godly man and the Gods keep him safe. He does not claim a pact, only faith.
3. Craster indicates he will kill any wights that come around - so he's not 'aligned' with their masters, at least in his eyes. 

Again, all that Craster indicates is that he is a godly man and thus safe. He makes no indication of a 'pact' or deal any formal agreement, ever. All he ever does is indicate his faith in the (cold) gods.

 Then there are the wives...

No mention of any pact or deal or agreement. Just a man sacrificing children to the 'gods'. And not even any details of that.

So the fact is, we never once hear of any 'deal' Craster has. All we hear is that he thinks he's godly and thus safe, and that he sacrifices his boys (and sheep) to the gods. Thats all.

And most of it is hearsay, which then gets repeated a lot by those who heard it, which reinforces the idea, but doesn't actually provide additional data points..

Why would a man sacrifice children to the gods? in fact, sacrifices are a sort of deal, one gives something to god and god pays it back with good fortune or something. But there's more evidence, as Craster is not worried at all about the Wights, while most Freefolk are, he stays in his holdfast while others leave entire towns (some leave because of Mance, but the Others are a reason as well). And Craster has a poorly deffended holdfast with lots of food, women to steal, and even some jeweled weapons, yet no one attacks him, why? and it's not because they like him, because no one does.

 

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Not sure what you are arguing here, its a bit irrelevant.
The facts on the ground is that the Others and their wights pulled back from the Watch for a time after the death of Puddles (often nicknamed Ser Puddles BTW). The exact reason why, is irrelevant, mostly because its indeterminable at this stage. The point is that the argument that the watch was not attacked at Craster's because Craster's was protected by a 'deal' doesn't fit the facts. They were 'not attacked' from some time before they got back to Craster's until a point while they were still at Craster's. Being at Craster's is not the point of difference either when the attacks end or when they start again.

You don't know that. And what I was saying is that, if the Others where afraid for their lives after the death of Puddles, they could have sent Wights after the Watch.

 

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Sure. Except thats not what happened is it. Before the Watch left, the Other's were coming. But the Watch fled Crasters Keep and got away. They weren't ambushed on the way out.

Did the Others attack Craster's? I don't remember

 

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Yes. Or days before Craster's Keep. But they did attack while they were still at Craster's keep.
So there was a lull. The attacks stopped, then the attacks started again. They stopped well before Craster's Keep was reached and the started while they were still at Craster's Keep. 
Ergo Craster's Keep is not a relevant factor in what stopped and started the attacks.

The attacks had stopped. He didn't know whether they would resume or the pursuit had been called off. Meanwhile he had wounded men who would definitely die if they continued, and most of his unwounded men were at the point of exhaustion. 
So he halted at Craster's a place they could have a fire and some food and rest for a while, regathered what strength they could, cared for the worst wounded, and (just) before they were ready to leave, then were attacked again.

Again, you don't know when the attacks stopped.

 

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He does.

Craster is a wildling as is anyone north of the wall. The wildlings are not a coherent 'people', though they do include several coherent groups, such as the Thenns, Hornfoots etc. But included in their numbers are smaller individual groups who trust no one, including other wildlings. Craster is one such. 
He hasn't 'joined' Mance's group yet, hence he's not one of 'them', but he is definitely Free Folk. No one says otherwise.

 

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She punched him again. "Craster's more your kind than ours. His father was a crow who stole a woman out of Whitetree village, but after he had her he flew back t' his Wall. She went t' Castle Black once t' show the crow his son, but the brothers blew their horns and run her off. Craster's blood is black, and he bears a heavy curse." She ran her fingers lightly across his stomach. "I feared you'd do the same once. Fly back to the Wall. You never knew what t' do after you stole me."

 

 

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Err, yes they are! 
Jon's turned that around in ADwD (partly at least), but the Watch and the Free Folk have been enemies for generations. They hate each other, for good reason.

When Mance was wounded ranging north of the Wall, he and his brothers knew that a Freefolk woodswitch would save him. They are not enemies necessarily, I mean, Craster is called a friend. 

It's like claiming that the Texas border patrol is the enemy of all Mexicans. They are not, they are the enemy of the Mexicans that want to cross north, and while most border patrol agents tend to be racist against Mexicans (like black brothers are against the Freefolk) there are some alliances between some and some. If you own a hotel just south of the border in which border patrol officers stay from time to time, you make money from them, you want them to succeed, if you don't care about the other Mexicans, and Craster wouldn't.

 

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Hence the rangings...

I think you should reread a bit.

Fair cop. The Watch would take boys (when they were a bit older) happily. But Craster doesn't want that.  So there it is.

Why doesn't he tho? it makes no sense. And no, Mormont never specifies that the babes need to be older.

 

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You make the point for me.
His holdfast is actually quite weak. It could easily be taken. So Craster fears. As he should. He's an arse, friend to no one, despised widely. 

Yet no one takes it, why? kill one man and get a whole bunch of stuff, it looks like the Freefolk lottery. Yet no one does, and Craster never shows fear of it happening. Why would he then fear it would happen by the hand of the Watch? If his sons dessert and kill him, then the watch would go to the keep and kill them. 

Also, I forgot to answer, but before you said that if the boys are raised by the Watch they would have a claim for his keep, that's not how Freefolk culture works, anyone who kills him and takes the keep has a claim for it, and a claim over whom? Craster has no subjects, no one has to approve of anyone 'ruling' in his keep, and boys from the Watch would be less prone to do it.

 

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No one does though, why is that? Well, he's a long way from anyone for a start. Not a lot of profit to take, and a lot of effort needed for the Wildlings.

A lot of proffit, he has pigs, sheep, apples, sausages, bread, ham, bacon, oates, corn, barley, berries, cabages, pine nuts, wine, and food is precious in winter; he has an axe with gold details, and likely other such treasures; he has women to steal; he has a keep.

And it's no effort, he's one man, near the end of his life, two twenty something Freefolk would be more than enough, and they'd have more than enough treasure for both.

 

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The Others and their Wights have not reached that far south/southeast  in numbers yet. They have been seen, but attacks that far south/east seem to have been limited to isolated parties caught in the open. To that point at least.

We don't know that, there's a reason why the villages where abandoned, and it's not just Mance. Attacking a groups of NW's rangers it's harder than attacking one old man. And we know they attacked at least two ranging parties.

 

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Thats later. 

mere days later

 

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Oh its far. The FotFM is further from Craster's Keep than Craster's is from the wall, roughly doubly far. About 200km, roughly. 

I wasn't talking about the Fist, I was talking about the incident with Puddles.

 

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One out of how many? Its entirely possible that Puddles was the only Other involved in the pursuit.

Nah, I agree that there aren't many Others, but Puddles wasn't the only one, you don't send the general head on when you have hundreds or thousands of privates.

 

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Even if they were all there (I have a vague recollection that the Wildlings had noticed an easing of pressure on them at the time of the battle), they don't expect any casualties. Losing an Other might be a huge shock. It also might be a huge disruption. Do wights die when the Other that animated them dies?

More of a reason to kill the one that kill the Other, so the way of killing them isn't known.

 

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Well, we don't know that. Could be that all of Wights in the local area were de-animated by the death of Puddles, for example.

If there where other Others I doubt it, and it makes sense that there where.

 

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You seem to miss the point that the more palatable option isn't giving the babies to monsters 'who could do anything to them', its sacrificing them to Gods who make them into mighty beings. Fearsome beings still, but powerful.

We have no indication that that's what they think, they still fear the Others, so they wouldn't like their children becoming, and being raised by, Others.

 

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Are you making my argument now?
The watch does believe the alternatives, and they still keep their peace with that.
Your theory about their being an actual Pact s far far worse from the Watch's pov. Thats a much bigger risk from Craster's pov.

In what way is it worse? 

 

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Where is the indication that the Other's make deals? - there is none anywhere else. They are a merciless destructive force to everyone (and by the evidence we've seen, any creature) that crosses their path.

There's likely historical precedence in the Black Gate.

 

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Where is the indication that Craster made a deal?  - there actually isn't any, even from Craster. 

I've shown many

 

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How does such deal come about? Who approaches who first? Why Craster and no one else?

Most people aren't willing to give up their babies.

 

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Why do sheep work just as well as sons?

They don't, the sheep baffle me, but they are just an extra payment.

 

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But all that actually happened was Craster went into the woods and sacrificed the babes, perhaps actively, more likely passively.. Sometimes the WW were around at the time. Perhaps they even killed some of the babes after he left.
None of which shows any indication of any actual meeting, or deal, between Craster and the Others.  

Evidence for this?

 

 

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There is no doubt that Craster is not your normal wildling.

Not only does he reject Mance, we get this odd tale about him.

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"Craster weds his daughters," Jon pointed out.
She punched him again. "Craster's more your kind than ours. His father was a crow who stole a woman out of Whitetree village, but after he had her he flew back t' his Wall. She went t' Castle Black once t' show the crow his son, but the brothers blew their horns and run her off. Craster's blood is black, and he bears a heavy curse."

A Storm of Swords - Jon III

Now I know everyone won't agree, and there is certainly no hard proof, but I think it makes all the sense in the world that Craster is Aemon's bastard.

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Jon hesitated. He wanted to say that Lord Eddard would never dishonor himself, not even for love, yet inside a small sly voice whispered, He fathered a bastard, where was the honor in that? And your mother, what of his duty to her, he will not even say her name. "He would do whatever was right," he said … ringingly, to make up for his hesitation. "No matter what."
"Then Lord Eddard is a man in ten thousand. Most of us are not so strong. What is honor compared to a woman's love? What is duty against the feel of a newborn son in your arms … or the memory of a brother's smile? Wind and words. Wind and words. We are only human, and the gods have fashioned us for love. That is our great glory, and our great tragedy.

A Game of Thrones - Jon VIII

Now despite Jon's thoughts it seems that Ned did try to do what he thought was oright and claimed Jon as a bastard, for the sake of Jon's mother in fact.

However, Aemon counts himself as being tested as well. "Most of us", "We are only human", "our great glory, and our great tragedy."

In my opinion, the three tests he lists here, a woman's love, a newborn son, and a memory of a brother's smile, are the three tests Aemon refers to later in the same chapter.

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Maester Aemon sighed. "Have you heard nothing I've told you, Jon? Do you think you are the first?" He shook his ancient head, a gesture weary beyond words. "Three times the gods saw fit to test my vows. Once when I was a boy, once in the fullness of my manhood, and once when I had grown old. By then my strength was fled, my eyes grown dim, yet that last choice was as cruel as the first. My ravens would bring the news from the south, words darker than their wings, the ruin of my House, the death of my kin, disgrace and desolation. What could I have done, old, blind, frail? I was helpless as a suckling babe, yet still it grieved me to sit forgotten as they cut down my brother's poor grandson, and his son, and even the little children …"

A Game of Thrones - Jon VIII

The most common objection I've heard, besides lack of indisputable evidence (a standard I don't pretend can be met), is that Aemon was not a boy when he went to the Wall, and so these tests must have started before that.

However, I think Aemon addresses that as well.

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"Allow me to give my lord one last piece of counsel," the old man had said, "the same counsel that I once gave my brother when we parted for the last time. He was three-and-thirty when the Great Council chose him to mount the Iron Throne. A man grown with sons of his own, yet in some ways still a boy. Egg had an innocence to him, a sweetness we all loved. Kill the boy within you, I told him the day I took ship for the Wall. It takes a man to rule. An Aegon, not an Egg. Kill the boy and let the man be born." The old man felt Jon's face. "You are half the age that Egg was, and your own burden is a crueler one, I fear. You will have little joy of your command, but I think you have the strength in you to do the things that must be done. Kill the boy, Jon Snow. Winter is almost upon us. Kill the boy and let the man be born."

A Dance with Dragons - Jon II

I think it is probable that Aemon's first test was the love of a wildling woman out of Whitetrees, and he flew back to the wall.

His second test was when she arrived with his son, but the crows chased her off.

The final test was hearing of the fall of House Targaryen, and the memory of his brother's smile.

It is worth noting that Crasters hair is grey going white, and his eyes are cold and mean, but the color is never given.

What does this have to do with Craster and the Others?

There is power in King's Blood.

Not only is there fantastic irony in Jon's baby swap plan, delivering the very king's blood he sought to place out of reach of Melisandre, but it also adds a comical twist to Mormont's comment about the baby.

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"How great a fool are you?" the old man said within, his voice choked and angry. "Even if Craster gave us the child, he'd be dead before we reached the Wall. We need a newborn babe to care for near as much as we need more snow. Do you have milk to feed him in those big teats of yours? Or did you mean to take the mother too?"

A Storm of Swords - Samwell II

Get it?

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"Kings are a rare sight in the north."
Robert snorted. "More likely they were hiding under the snow. Snow, Ned!"

A Game of Thrones - Eddard I

Edit: Also, fun note, because I love literary references:

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"Gilly, he called me. For the gillyflower."

A Clash of Kings - Jon III

The Gillyflower, or Wallflower, has some great old context worth mentioning.

Gillyflower was used as peppercorn rent in feudal contracts. Basically it was a token payment on behalf of the lad holder in a feudal land contract because both sides needed to have consideration.

Gillyflower is also mentioned both in Chaucer and in Shakespeare's The Winter's Tale:

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Fair shepherdess, since we are old, you do well to pair us with winter flowers .

Sir, the year is growing old, with the summer not yet over and the winter not yet starting. The fairest flowers of this season are carnations and two-toned gillyflowers, which some call nature’s bastards. But we don’t have any of those flowers in our garden, and I don’t care to get any cuttings of them.

Kind maiden, why do you reject them?

Because I’ve heard that their many colors are due as much to cross-breeding as to nature.

 

Edited by Mourning Star
Added Gillyflower section

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13 hours ago, CamiloRP said:

 

lost a big reply and have a crazy schedule, so this is probably gonna die about here, sorry. 

Coupla-few quick notes.

Attacks that are not indicated in any way, don't count. Puddles' death was the last known attack, and was not at Craster's. The final attack at Craster's we didn't see, but the Watch was still there when the woman made them flee saying the Walkers were coming - to the Keep.

You need to reread a bit about Craster and his Keep. Its nothing like the 'rich prize' you describe. Most of that is clearly fantasy from the mutineers, or stuff actually supplied by the watch. 
Craster's keep is no great prize.
Also consider the difficult and cost of slogging many kilometres through that terrain and climate. Without horses. And whether Craster, who is a tough, gnarly bastard, would be as easy to take for a couple of young bucks as you assume. And what they'd do afterward. How would Craster's wives/daughters treat them.

If its how you describe, you are partially right, it makes no sense that he can survive at all. But it isn't. 

If you study the known contacts between humans and Others/wights, what you find is this. 
Other than isolated outdoor parties (including the anomolous event in the prologue - the only actual time we see more than one Other - and no wights), there is a pattern. The tribes and locations closes to the Lands of always Winter are the first to get hit, and have their holdfasts and homes threatened. The 'threat' gradually moves south and East. Crasters Keep is nearly as far from it as you can get before the wall in terms of a major location.
Non-wight attacks are isolated, outdoors, or dead/dying individuals.  The Others generally attacks to destroy with the wights - the wildlings reference fighting the dead which requires significant numbers. And winning, but slowly losing since the dead rise for the other side. Consequently you get a slow wave spreading out from tLoAW, occasionally stalling  around a significant obstacle. Thats why you have Craster not yet attacked, and no known holdfasts or villages attacked south of him, until very late in the piece - despite that fact that the most Northern and Western wildling communities have been fighting a losing battle for a long time, maybe years, such that Mance has called them together to the Frostfangs to prepare to try and escape south.

13 hours ago, CamiloRP said:

There's likely historical precedence in the Black Gate.

The Black Gate is a total unknown. There is no data that connects it to a 'deal' between humans and Others. So no, not precedent as yet.

13 hours ago, CamiloRP said:

I've shown many

You've not shown anything in this regard, let alone 'many'. I detailed every time Craster made any reference to such a subject and every time he did not reference any deal or pact, just used general language that showed faith, not hard dealing with beings.

13 hours ago, CamiloRP said:

Evidence for this?

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"What color are their eyes?" he asked her.
"Blue. As bright as blue stars, and as cold."
She has seen them, he thought. Craster lied.

 

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9 hours ago, corbon said:

lost a big reply and have a crazy schedule, so this is probably gonna die about here, sorry. 

No problem

 

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Attacks that are not indicated in any way, don't count. Puddles' death was the last known attack, and was not at Craster's. The final attack at Craster's we didn't see, but the Watch was still there when the woman made them flee saying the Walkers were coming - to the Keep.

I'm not saying there was an attack, I'm saying you don't know there definitely wasn't, so you can't claim that 100% the death of puddles was the cause of the cease.

 

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You need to reread a bit about Craster and his Keep. Its nothing like the 'rich prize' you describe. Most of that is clearly fantasy from the mutineers, or stuff actually supplied by the watch. 

I mean, he has sheep, pigs, hens and and apple tree. I think that's enough to want to kill him and take it. He also has some luxuries, like the gold axe Mormont gave him, it's fair to assume he has other similar things. He's also said to traffic with slavers, so he must have some money from those transactions.

 

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Craster's keep is no great prize.
Also consider the difficult and cost of slogging many kilometres through that terrain and climate. Without horses. And whether Craster, who is a tough, gnarly bastard, would be as easy to take for a couple of young bucks as you assume. And what they'd do afterward. How would Craster's wives/daughters treat them.

I guess Craster's daughters would treat them well, they didn't revel against Craster, despite he treating them like shit, they were scared of him, and likely they would be of his killers, if the killers treat them better than Craster, they might even like them.

Also, you are claiming that Craster won't give children to the Watch for fear of them stealing his keep, yet you now claim that no one would want the keep. 

If Craster feared anyone attacking him he would improve the defenses. And also, NW men are the least likely to attack him.

 

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If its how you describe, you are partially right, it makes no sense that he can survive at all. But it isn't. 

If you study the known contacts between humans and Others/wights, what you find is this. 
Other than isolated outdoor parties (including the anomolous event in the prologue - the only actual time we see more than one Other - and no wights), there is a pattern. The tribes and locations closes to the Lands of always Winter are the first to get hit, and have their holdfasts and homes threatened. The 'threat' gradually moves south and East. Crasters Keep is nearly as far from it as you can get before the wall in terms of a major location.
Non-wight attacks are isolated, outdoors, or dead/dying individuals.  The Others generally attacks to destroy with the wights - the wildlings reference fighting the dead which requires significant numbers. And winning, but slowly losing since the dead rise for the other side. Consequently you get a slow wave spreading out from tLoAW, occasionally stalling  around a significant obstacle. Thats why you have Craster not yet attacked, and no known holdfasts or villages attacked south of him, until very late in the piece - despite that fact that the most Northern and Western wildling communities have been fighting a losing battle for a long time, maybe years, such that Mance has called them together to the Frostfangs to prepare to try and escape south.

People leave their villages to go follow Mance because of the Wight attacks. Some of those villages include villages south from Craster's Keep. We also know of three instances in which groups of rangers were attacked close to Craster's keep. The first one is Will/Wymar/Gared. The second one is Othor/Jafer Flowers, who were presumably attacked really close to the Wall (and then there's even an attack to a castle south of the Wall!). The third instance is when Puddles (and likely more) attack around 50 black brothers not so far north from Craster's Keep. So, while we heard of no attacks to villages close to Craster's, there is ample reason to assume those villages were attacked, and we have little reason to assume they weren't 

 

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The Black Gate is a total unknown. There is no data that connects it to a 'deal' between humans and Others. So no, not precedent as yet.

I said likely, I wrote about it here

 

9 hours ago, corbon said:

You've not shown anything in this regard, let alone 'many'. I detailed every time Craster made any reference to such a subject and every time he did not reference any deal or pact, just used general language that showed faith, not hard dealing with beings.

The thing is, explicitly saying it is not the only type of evidence. There's evidence in:
- Craster leaving his sons in the woods.

- The many, many times it's stated that he deals with crueler gods, demons and worse, give sacrifices, and more.

- His wives saying the Others are his children.

- The fact that the Others don't seem to attack him or his keep. (And I even imagine that he leaves the keep, as he recently killed a bear).

- The fact that people from the villages around him have fled, partly because of the others, yet he's not troubled. 

- The fact that he has no reason to have people believe he negotiates with the Others. As it's likely to make the Watch want to stop trading with him, and it wouldn't appease his wives much, plus he doesn't care about appeasing them.

 

Now, you can argue against this if you want, but you can't say there's no indication.

 

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"What color are their eyes?" he asked her.
"Blue. As bright as blue stars, and as cold."
She has seen them, he thought. Craster lied.

No, I mean indication that this is what actually happened.

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But all that actually happened was Craster went into the woods and sacrificed the babes, perhaps actively, more likely passively.. Sometimes the WW were around at the time. Perhaps they even killed some of the babes after he left.

 

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On 11/14/2020 at 3:38 AM, Alyn Oakenfist said:

So as of now our knowledge of the Others is limited

- We now they have the power of necromancy

- We now they invaded once before

- We know they are tied to the night and the cold

- We now they're vulnerable to dragonglass and valyrian steel

And that's about it. So given the huge amount of unknown, what are your theories and speculations on the Others, to be demolished by GRRM when he published TWOW in 2050? What do you think is their purpose, why do you think they're invading and how will the story about then pan out?

 

On 11/14/2020 at 9:06 AM, Kierria said:

The Others are a form of life which took a different path during the evolution of the planet.  Their purpose in the story is the same as the vampires in Fevre Dream.  The creation myth seems to begin with the Lion of the Night and the Maiden Made of Light.  Life is their children.  Life took different paths through evolution.  The Others evolved in the cold and dark while most lived in light and warmth. 

This is subject which interested me four years ago.  My theory at the time proposed a possible Stark origin for the Others.  Here is the link to my post from 2016 titled Craster is a Stark.

Craster is a Stark

 

Posted under my old user name: Lame Lothar Frey

https://asoiaf.westeros.org/index.php?/topic/144438-craster-is-a-stark/#comments

 

A lot of interesting new ideas from the forum members have come since then to support my theory.  The Wildlings sacrifice to the Old Gods in a manner similar to the what the Starks did.  They ritualistically murdered men, women, and children to water the roots of the weirwoods with blood.  The Others also demand their payment but want living children from a blood line which is compatible.  They are more selective.  Give them just anybody and they feed that person to their wights.  But if you give them a special male child, from a genetically compatible family like Craster's, the boy can be turned to one of them.   One of the earliest commanders of the watch was the person who became known as the Night's King.  He was said to be a Stark.  His seed was compatible with the Corpse Queen and he fathered hybrids.  Craster and the Night's King were compatible with the Others.  I believe Craster is also a Stark.  They are of the same blood line.  

Edited by The Lord of the Crossing

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