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Let's catalogue and discuss the "Living Dead"!


hiemal
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31 minutes ago, Curled Finger said:

Bodies frozen in very cold places, like maybe north of the Wall have been found after 30 and 40 years in near pristine condition.  Seems they just freeze up like in ice cubes.  Since we are going back a few thousand years for the wights not to rot away, I'm thinking dinosaurs or mammoths have been found encapsulated in ice.  Not sure of the condition or how human decay actually works, but if flesh dies in freezing or below freezing temperature it seems to me it could just hang in stasis forever if undisturbed.   Just a thought.  

I'm not necessarily disagreeing with this, but in Sam III, ASoS, when he and Gilly are in that village and the wights come after them, one of the ravens is on Small Paul's shoulder and it's "ripping a strip from his ruined pale cheek."

I'm not a scientist and I didn't google it, but doesn't that indicate that Small Paul's body is rotting?

Actually, and come to think of it, I find that things are not super consistent with the ice wights. Jafer Flowers and Othor showed no sign of rot.

Edited by Alexis-something-Rose
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6 minutes ago, Jay21 said:

This is good.  I thought that it may be an indication that these guys were some form of bloodmage or would be bloodmage, just because their offspring was Rhaego like. Wights might fit better. Maegor certainly could have been ressurected, if anyone could have been that is, and Visenya was supposed to have been using magic in her later years, but we don't read much about what she was using it for.

Visenya & Aegon were married a very long time for her have never become pregnant.  At least we don't know she became pregnant, but we do know she spent some serious spell time before she became pregnant with her bouncing baby boy.  

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2 minutes ago, Alexis-something-Rose said:

I'm not necessarily disagreeing with this, but in Sam III, ASoS, when he and Gilly are in that village and the wights come after them, one of the ravens is on Small Paul's shoulder and it's "ripping a strip from his ruined pale cheek."

I'm not a scientist and I didn't google it, but doesn't that indicate that Small Paul's body is rotting?

Actually, and come to think of it, I find that things are not super consistent with the ice wights. Jafer Flowers and Othor showed no sign of rot.

Well pale sure indicates our boy has been dead for a minute, but the strip could be from an existing wound so we can't be sure what that's about.  There may be something to how cold it is at different locations north of the Wall.   The Wall weeps which seems to indicate it's warmer than usual, but it's still a giant frozen wall of ice.  Not sure where relativity even is here.  

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43 minutes ago, Curled Finger said:

A look at historical Targs with an eye to possibly enchanted Targs is a fascinating prospect.  When you get around to composing some more wonderful tin foil I hope you will consider that the Dance of The Dragons is possibly the last we see of the magical fire Targs.  To go completely full circle with you, I submit that those sphinx babies may be some tell on who your historical fire wights could be.  Just a thought, but your Maegor sure fits into it.  Is the Sphinx the riddle or the answer? 

I'm not sure- I have my suspicions that  Aegon IV's miscarriages could also have been the result of a... pre-existing condition... so there's that.

And here's a riddle- how might the sphinx-babies relate to Area's extreme case of worms?

48 minutes ago, Curled Finger said:

When I try to think rationally about the dead and nearly dead, rationale seems to stand behind me where I can't really see it anymore.  With Moqorro and others I try to hold it in front of me.  A real honest to goodness human being couldn't survive some of these spectacular deaths.  No one could survive underwater for 3 days or a blazing pyre.  No human being has lived to several hundred years or survived 7 deaths including hanging and arrows in eyes.  It's not humanly possible.  This is where I have to bend to magical being.  There is something they are born with (Dany?), learn (Melisandre) or acquire at the point of or shortly into death (Davos, Beric).  I think in some way out ways Patchface resembles Lady Stoneheart.  I know you love some sweet beats so I will ask if you have noticed if Patchface has improved at all though out the book?    It's really interesting that LSH gets better.   It's flat out weird, really. 

I don't think there is enough left of Patchface to improve, and I'm not sure that LSH does, only kind of.. spitballing the idea and seeing if anything sticks. It would be interesting if she is, though.

51 minutes ago, Curled Finger said:

Are you thinking the Drowned god is a bad guy? 

Yeah. Not a guy, though- basically a grove of sunken weirood trees that the Deep Ones have taken over- enslaving the merlings (anunderwater relative of the CotF, basically) and corrupted with poison. This is where the driftwood comes from that the kings are making crowns of and the Drowned Men cudgels.

Shadow Over Innsmouth, er Pyke...

55 minutes ago, Curled Finger said:

Want to add Jon to both dead Starks in the Crypts and Counterfiet Kings for his portrayal as a ghost to frighten the smaller kids.  What does that if anything at all, have to say about Jon? 

Jon is a special case, and I want to see how things shake out a bit more. Seven willing that will happen at some point.

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1 hour ago, Alexis-something-Rose said:
 

In a cursed place? Sounds on par for Tyrion.

About Dany, Drogo's funeral pyre and the birth of the dragons and Dany herself coming out of the flames has a lot of symbolic connections to Summerhall.

Summerhall was a prophetic stutter, Dany the true fulfillment, I think. Targs and their wildfire.

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1 hour ago, Tucu said:

We also have the Morning ghosts from Old Nan's tales that are mist carried by the wind (so maybe water and air elementals):

 

Spirits of the Air made visible by a boundary condition would be my guess. I wonder if the phantom tortoises of Qarth are ironic spirits of the air?

Edited by hiemal
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37 minutes ago, Curled Finger said:

Or is it a sort of reverse skin changing?  Though Drogo and the dragon eggs are pretty complacent before Drogo's death it was Dany who ended his life and brought the eggs to hatch.  The act was no doubt a blood sacrifice but the whole thing rather reminds me of Bran and Hodor--stronger will over weaker will? 

There seems to me to be a  game of souls going on in Dany's pyre- Drogo, Rhaegal, and MMD it seems to me- I don't think the eggs had souls until the pyre. This might be an extreme form of the Targ custom of placing eggs near their children. An egg won't hatch unless some kind of soul transfer can take place?

Edited by hiemal
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13 minutes ago, Curled Finger said:

Visenya & Aegon were married a very long time for her have never become pregnant.  At least we don't know she became pregnant, but we do know she spent some serious spell time before she became pregnant with her bouncing baby boy.  

I've long believed that Tyrion was Aerys' not Tywin's and I thought that his twisted little body was a partial hint/ confirmation.  This firewight notion might be the first challenge to that idea that it can't accommodate. Rhaegar could have been sired by a living man and then Tyrion by the wight (or half wight?), but Vis and Dany would have to have been sired by the wight as well, and they don't seem to exhibit the signs... Got some reading to do it seems...

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10 minutes ago, Jay21 said:

I've long believed that Tyrion was Aerys' not Tywin's and I thought that his twisted little body was a partial hint/ confirmation.  This firewight notion might be the first challenge to that idea that it can't accommodate. Rhaegar could have been sired by a living man and then Tyrion by the wight (or half wight?), but Vis and Dany would have to have been sired by the wight as well, and they don't seem to exhibit the signs... Got some reading to do it seems...

Makes a lot of sense and puts the "sphinx" thing in new light.

I wonder how many of the historical miscarriages were on women without any Targ blood in their own families?

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1 hour ago, hiemal said:

Spirits of the Air made visible by a boundary condition would be my guess.

Possible. We have some links to Varamyr and the WW. Varamyr spirit "melts" and is carried by the wind ("he was rising, melting, his spirit borne on some cold wind") and the WW killed by Sam melts and turns to mist that swirls away ("its flesh was gone, swirling away in a fine white mist. Beneath were bones like milkglass, pale and shiny, and they were melting too")

Edited by Tucu
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Bodies frozen in very cold places, like maybe north of the Wall have been found after 30 and 40 years in near pristine condition.  Seems they just freeze up like in ice cubes.  Since we are going back a few thousand years for the wights not to rot away, I'm thinking dinosaurs or mammoths have been found encapsulated in ice.  Not sure of the condition or how human decay actually works, but if flesh dies in freezing or below freezing temperature it seems to me it could just hang in stasis forever if undisturbed.   Just a thought.  

There are documented cases of frozen mammoths being found buried in glacial ice.  The flesh was still edible, at least for the sled dogs.  IIRC, at least one Ice-Age human body has also been found, again very well preserved.  I think there was an episode of "Nova" about it.

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Not to spoil the party, but it occurs to me that a lot of this discussion is based on conjecture by us readers.  The term "blood magic" is found in the books in a couple of places.  But I think "fire magic," "water magic," "fire wight," etc. were invented by readers.

Is there an SSM that speaks to this? Has anyone asked GRRM whether he has a Unified Theory that covers all the magical events in the story?  He might just be making it up as he goes along.

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20 minutes ago, Aebram said:

Not to spoil the party, but it occurs to me that a lot of this discussion is based on conjecture by us readers.  The term "blood magic" is found in the books in a couple of places.  But I think "fire magic," "water magic," "fire wight," etc. were invented by readers.

He does use the words "pyromancy" and "hydromancy". "Fire wight" was coined by readers as a convenience.

It makes discussion easier to have a shared vocabulary.

20 minutes ago, Aebram said:

Is there an SSM that speaks to this? Has anyone asked GRRM whether he has a Unified Theory that covers all the magical events in the story?  He might just be making it up as he goes along.

Always a possibility. What I know of GRRM suggests that his greatest skill is as an editor, not a writer- his genius is in interweaving existing elements into something new? I think there is some kind of underlying order to what's going on, but how fleshed out it is and how much of the things that we are attaching importance to are no more than window-dressing I haven't the foggiest. That's what tinfoil is for, however.

 

Edited by hiemal
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44 minutes ago, Tucu said:

Possible. We have some links to Varamyr and the WW. Varamyr spirit "melts" and is carried by the wind ("he was rising, melting, his spirit borne on some cold wind") and the WW killed by Sam melts and turns to mist that swirls away ("its flesh was gone, swirling away in a fine white mist. Beneath were bones like milkglass, pale and shiny, and they were melting too")

The Others with their Ice Spiders would make a good semblance of a Wild Hunt.

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1 hour ago, Jay21 said:

I've long believed that Tyrion was Aerys' not Tywin's and I thought that his twisted little body was a partial hint/ confirmation.  This firewight notion might be the first challenge to that idea that it can't accommodate. Rhaegar could have been sired by a living man and then Tyrion by the wight (or half wight?), but Vis and Dany would have to have been sired by the wight as well, and they don't seem to exhibit the signs... Got some reading to do it seems...

That Tyrion is a sort of Targaryen Sphinx?  I'm not so sure about wights unless I am lost (again) in the idea that there are specific Targ wights along the lines of the Red Priests' resurrections?  I vacillate between Targaryans being of the R'hllor ilk and their own special brand of fire wightish.  While Martin's genetic ideas are all over the place I do think the bottom line is there are humans who are bent to certain elemental persuasions complete with magical abilities.  Along the lines of comic book characters if you will.   Rhaella had many many miscarriages, still births and very early deaths among the many children she mothered.  Seems to me Maegor had a similar problem without proving himself quite so fertile as Aerys.  I personally like the idea of Tyrion being an actual sphinx baby with all the chimerical traits he's got.  It's been a very long time, nearly a century and a half, since the last Targ sphinx baby I know of was born.   

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4 hours ago, hiemal said:

The Shadow Tower really intrigues me as a possible recycling plant for dead brothers in the Night's Watch.

 

4 hours ago, hiemal said:

All right, I'm hooked. Reel me in!

I wish I had direct evidence to offer. Most of my thinking is a hunch built on small things:

  • Proximity to the Bridge of Skulls, which seems like a clear underworld location. 
  • Denys Mallister commands the Shadow Tower. The Mallister sigil is on an indigo field. The only other place we see indigo is in the House of the Undying, where the dim lighting is described as "indigo murk." 
  • (Note: Jason Mallister attended Catelyn's wedding to Ned but did not recognize her when he passed her on the road on his way to the Hand's Tourney. If all Mallisters are part of a Grim Reaper archetype, Jason's failure to "see" Catelyn may foreshadow her upcoming undead existence as Lady Stoneheart. Maybe you have to look directly into the eyes of death in order to achieve a complete break with mainstream life once your number is up. And this would take us back to Denys's turf with the The Weeper and the Bridge of Skulls.)
  • Qhorin Halfhand is able to lead Jon Snow and his shaggy garron behind a waterfall and through a mountain cave - I think only a supernatural guy could lead a mortal along a path like that. The trip behind the waterfall is the second time that Qhorin sends Jon Snow toward Ygritte. After passing through the mountain, Qhorin may be ready to sacrifice himself in order to advance Jon's undercover mission because he is tired of being undead and ready to move on to full-time death. He seems almost relieved when Jon Snow cuts his throat with a sharp sword. 
5 hours ago, hiemal said:

How about Illyn Payne?

Yes, another good one for the list, I think. As The King's Justice, he is an obvious grim reaper parallel. He also lives in the dungeon of the Red Keep, which seems like another unique slice of the underworld from which people can be reborn.

I had an early suspicion that Ser Ilyn is the equivalent of the direwolf Ghost, except loyal to Tywin and then Jaime instead of Jon Snow. Since I think Ghost should be on the list of the living dead, Ser Ilyn probably also makes the list.

Of course, Ser Ilyn and Podrick Payne are the only characters we know with a House Payne connection. Since Pod survives (we hope) hanging at the end of ADwD, the two Paynes may share an undead status as well as a surname. 

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9 hours ago, Aebram said:

Not to spoil the party, but it occurs to me that a lot of this discussion is based on conjecture by us readers.  The term "blood magic" is found in the books in a couple of places.  But I think "fire magic," "water magic," "fire wight," etc. were invented by readers.

Is there an SSM that speaks to this? Has anyone asked GRRM whether he has a Unified Theory that covers all the magical events in the story?  He might just be making it up as he goes along.

Pyromancers, master smiths and crannogmen all claim to use magic.

Crannogmen are interesting because they link to the Children: e.g. turning earth to water and back again with a spoken word is a sort of similar mash-up to the Children (singers of the song of earth) bringing down the hammer of the waters.

So I guess there is a bit of Unified Theory to the magic.

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7 hours ago, Tucu said:

Right, with Odin leading on Sleipnir, the 8 legged horse.

Hunting the Woodwives (CotF?). Considering the number of one-eyed folks, and those who pose as the one-eyed (Euron and Turnberry, spring to mind)... I honestly hadn't made the 8-legged connection. Nice.

But I was also thinking of Finvarra, from the Hollow Hill of Knockmaa. GRRM has in a SSM, IIRC, described the Others as icy and alien Sidhe.

Edited by hiemal
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12 hours ago, Seams said:

 

I wish I had direct evidence to offer. Most of my thinking is a hunch built on small things:

  • Proximity to the Bridge of Skulls, which seems like a clear underworld location. 
  • Denys Mallister commands the Shadow Tower. The Mallister sigil is on an indigo field. The only other place we see indigo is in the House of the Undying, where the dim lighting is described as "indigo murk." 
  • (Note: Jason Mallister attended Catelyn's wedding to Ned but did not recognize her when he passed her on the road on his way to the Hand's Tourney. If all Mallisters are part of a Grim Reaper archetype, Jason's failure to "see" Catelyn may foreshadow her upcoming undead existence as Lady Stoneheart. Maybe you have to look directly into the eyes of death in order to achieve a complete break with mainstream life once your number is up. And this would take us back to Denys's turf with the The Weeper and the Bridge of Skulls.)
  • Qhorin Halfhand is able to lead Jon Snow and his shaggy garron behind a waterfall and through a mountain cave - I think only a supernatural guy could lead a mortal along a path like that. The trip behind the waterfall is the second time that Qhorin sends Jon Snow toward Ygritte. After passing through the mountain, Qhorin may be ready to sacrifice himself in order to advance Jon's undercover mission because he is tired of being undead and ready to move on to full-time death. He seems almost relieved when Jon Snow cuts his throat with a sharp sword. 

This is good stuff. It puts a new light on the fake Brothers put up at Castle Black and on Dolorous Ed's story about the guy (can't remember who off the top of my head) who fell from the bridge and landed in a pool despite being already dead?

Still pondering this one.

12 hours ago, Seams said:

Yes, another good one for the list, I think. As The King's Justice, he is an obvious grim reaper parallel. He also lives in the dungeon of the Red Keep, which seems like another unique slice of the underworld from which people can be reborn.

I had an early suspicion that Ser Ilyn is the equivalent of the direwolf Ghost, except loyal to Tywin and then Jaime instead of Jon Snow. Since I think Ghost should be on the list of the living dead, Ser Ilyn probably also makes the list.

Of course, Ser Ilyn and Podrick Payne are the only characters we know with a House Payne connection. Since Pod survives (we hope) hanging at the end of ADwD, the two Paynes may share an undead status as well as a surname. 

Nice! One tongueless, one tongue-tied. A lot to think on.

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