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By Odin's Beard

Forbidden Planet (and Shadow Swords)

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I just watched Forbidden Planet (1956) for the first time on the recommendation of @Frey family reunion who mentioned that Bran's plot parallels the plot of Forbidden Planet, and that Bran might be telepathically casting the White Walkers from his nightmares while inside the weirwood network (which I seem to recall Preston mentioning this in passing at least once also).   George has said that it is the best sci-fi film ever made, and has seen it over 100 times, and he owns a life-size replica of Robby the Robot.

In the movie, Dr. Morbius lives inside/under a green round-domed building surrounded by trees with red leaves and white trunks (they look like weirwoods and he lives under something that resembles a weirwood hill).  He was a member of a small group of colonists who landed on the planet Altair-4, to set up a colony 20 years ago.  Underneath his house is a vast network of tunnels built by a now-extinct ancient alien civilization.  Among the things the Morbius found in tunnels was a supercomputer containing all the scientific knowledge of the Krell aliens.  He found another device that amplified his intelligence, and the machine performed another function as well--it could manifest thoughts into physical reality--it would read your mind and whatever you wanted to create it would create.  Morbius could not yet master this function while awake, but unbeknownst to him, while he slept, the monsters that he dreamed were manifest in the real world and killed all of his fellow colonists  He says they were killed by a "planetary force."  In the climax of the film, Dr. Morbius is being attacked by his own psionic projection, and is forced to retreat to his safe-room underground, but the monster is almost infinitely powerful and breaks into the safe-room.  The monster is only defeated by Morbius acknowledging that he himself is the monster, then it vanishes. 

They realize that this technology is was what wiped out the alien civilization 200,000 years ago--the Krell dreamed of monsters, and those monsters completely obliterated their civilization, practically overnight.  (I think the collaspse of the Great Empire of the Dawn parallels this)

The last act of Morbius is to activate a self-destruct so that this technology can never be used again.

In Roman mythology, Morpheus is the god of dreams, and Morbus is the god of disease, Mors is the goddess of death, and Morbius is a combination of these.   moribund means "death"

 

So, Morbius is named after the gods of dreams and death, and he lives under a proto-weirwood grove, he finds and ancient alien computer that is a repository of all knowledge, his brain is plugged into the device, and is gives him vast psychic abilities, including the ability to cast ghostly shadow monsters while dreaming.  (oh and Morbius' daughter has the ability to control animals)  His creation turns on him.  He is forced to destroy the psychic supercomputer. 

Under a weirwood grove, in a cave full of skulls and bones, Bran finds an ancient alien weirwood network that is a repository of all knowledge, his brain is plugged into the network, and it gives him vast psychic abilities, including the ability to cast ghostly "shadow swords"--White Walkers--while dreaming.  He will realize that humans have created their own monsters through the weirwood network.  And I think he will use the White Walkers to destroy the weirwood network.

 

Stannis, Melisandre, and the Shadow Swords

 The parallel to Bran creating the White Shadow Swords through the weirwood network is Stannis and Melisandre creating Black Shadow Swords.  Mel is a symbolic weirwood (red hair, red eyes, red ruby, white skin) gives birth to a shadow sword that does the bidding of a sleeping symbolic Antlered Green man--Stannis.  While Stannis is asleep his and Mel's shadow sword baby assassinates Renly:

Quote

For a long time the king did not speak. Then, very softly, he said, "I dream of it sometimes. Of Renly's dying. A green tent, candles, a woman screaming. And blood." Stannis looked down at his hands. "I was still abed when he died. Your Devan will tell you. He tried to wake me. Dawn was nigh and my lords were waiting, fretting. I should have been ahorse, armored. I knew Renly would attack at break of day. Devan says I thrashed an cried out, but what does it matter? It was a dream. I was in my tent when Renly died, and when I woke my hands were clean."

The shadow sword is recognizable as Stannis' shadow:

"He had only an instant to look before it was gone, twisting between the bars of the portcullis and racing across the surface of the water, but that instant was long enough. He knew that Shadow. As he knew the man who'd cast it."

and Brienne recognizes it as Stannis also:

"I was helping Renly into his armor, and the candles blew out and there was blood everywhere. It was Stannis, Lady Catelyn said. His … his shadow."

 

The shadow sword emanates cold and is projected by a greenseer through a weirwood, while the greenseer is dreaming.  Bran "weds" the weirwood, Stannis impregnates the weirwood metaphor Melisandre.  It is the same magic only differing in degree. 

Oh, and Storm's End is a metaphor for a weirwood hill with a competing greenseer holding it, and a shadow sword is used to invade the tunnels underneath Storm's End to kill the man holding it--it has to pass under the protective wards to sneak inside and kill the greenseer, then Stannis takes it over.

 

Bran's Monsters

Old Nan says the 13th Lord Commander was maybe a Stark that created Others with child sacrifice: "He was a Stark of Winterfell, and who can say? Mayhaps his name was Brandon. Mayhaps he slept in this very bed in this very room."

Melisandre sees Bloodraven and Bran in the flames and concludes that they are either the Great Other, or at least his champions.  "the Great Other . . . the Lord of Darkness, the Soul of  Ice, the God of Night and Terror" 

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But beyond the Wall, the enemy grows stronger, and should he win the dawn will never come again. She wondered if it had been his face that she had seen, staring out at her from the flames. No. Surely not. His visage would be more frightening than that, cold and black and too terrible for any man to gaze upon and live. The wooden man she had glimpsed, though, and the boy with the wolf's face … they were his servants, surely … his champions, as Stannis was hers.

She thinks the Great Other should be hideous and terrifying, but I think it is really just Bran, who likes the darkness and likes the shivers.

 

When the 3 eyed crow shows Bran the Heart of Winter:

Quote

He looked deep into the heart of winter, and then he cried out, afraid, and the heat of his tears burned on his cheeks.

Now you know, the crow whispered as it sat on his shoulder.

Now you know why you must live.

"Why?" Bran said, not understanding, falling, falling.

Because winter is coming.

 

The White Walkers that killed Waymar in the prologue of the first book were all copies of each other--"twins to the first."  I think Bran saw White Walkers with his face on them in the heart of winter.  That is what scared him so much.  The monsters are Bran's.  Bran is the monster.  Tears burned on his cheeks because Bran is elemental ice, Brandon Ice Eyes.  The Soul of Ice.

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"Then a long cruel winter fell," said Ser Bartimus. "The White Knife froze hard, and even the firth was icing up. The winds came howling from the north and drove them slavers inside to huddle round their fires, and whilst they warmed themselves the new king come down on them. Brandon Stark this was, Edrick Snowbeard's great-grandson, him that men called Ice Eyes. He took the Wolf's Den back, stripped the slavers naked, and gave them to the slaves he'd found chained up in the dungeons. It's said they hung their entrails in the branches of the heart tree, as an offering to the gods. The old gods, not these new ones from the south. Your Seven don't know winter, and winter don't know them."

Brandon Ice Eyes was a King of Winter who during a long, cruel, Fell Winter came down out of the North and kills the slavers, hangs their entrails in the weirwood, and frees the slaves.  He is here associated with a frozen White Knife (ice sword?  The Others are white shadow swords made of ice), and the winds of winter.  However, Bran is a liberator, not a villain.  He saves people from bondage. 

 

Coldhands hints that he is somehow a creation of Bran's:

Quote

"A monster," Bran said.

The ranger looked at Bran as if the rest of them did not exist. "Your monster, Brandon Stark."

"Yours," the raven echoed, from his shoulder. Outside the door, the ravens in the trees took up the cry, until the night wood echoed to the murderer's song of "Yours, yours, yours."

(It has never occurred to me that this might imply a time-travel paradox, that Bran is being guided by a "monster" that he created or will create in the past, but hasn't yet?)

Previously Jojen told Bran that truth is revealed in dreams, and that he should fear the revelations:

"Maester Luwin says there's nothing in dreams that a man need fear."
"There is," said Jojen.
"What?"
"The past. The future. The truth."
 
 
Then there is this line from Arya:
"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."
 
Bran imprisoned in a weirwood cave, he escapes and joins the Others. 
 
There is also something suggestive about the 1,000 other dreamers impaled on ice spears that the 3 eyed crow shows Bran.  The 3 eyed crow uses Ice Spears to kill dreamers.

 

Craster's Sons

The etymology for the name Craster:  "The name Crast "originates from the Latin 'cestre' meaning a fort or camp, plus the Olde English 'cra' meaning 'crow'. This suggests that the original site was a look-out post, a 'crows nest', which given its proximity to Hadrians Wall is a logical analysis." 

The word craos / craosta in Gaelic means "glutton, open maw," kraz means "crow" (crastinus in Latin means "of tomorrow" and Craster gives away all his male heirs--he gives away his future)

Craster is a bastard born of a man of the Nights Watch and a woman from Whitetree (named after a massive weirwood with a huge open maw).  A man who lives in hovel on a hill in the Haunted Forest, whose name means "crow" and "open maw" and is the son of a crow and a symbolic weirwood woman, he has many wives, and his sons become White Walkers--and the one that escapes is called "Monster".  Craster compares himself to a tree: "My roots are sunk deep."  He parallels a greenseer sitting a throne in a weirwood hill with all female CoTF, and all the boys are given to become White Walkers.  The greenseer is a crow, and he is in turn killed by crows--is the Nights Watch here a stand-in for the White Walkers?  He makes a point of saying that he has nothing to fear from the Others because of his offerings, but then he is killed by crows in the end--a greenseer killed by his own creations?

Before the Mutiny at Craster's, a symbolic weirwood hill (the Fist of the First Men) is stormed by wights, all the crows are forced to flee, then they regroup at Craster's where another symbolic weirwood hill is stormed and its inhabitants are killed and scattered.

 

The Hightower

The Hightower is a white tower with a red flaming top, built on an island by Bran the Builder.  It is a symbolic weirwood, there is a man inside it using magic, with hints of him using magic to see all across Westeros, and the symbolic weirwood casts a huge shadow sword

Quote

And beyond, where the Honeywine widened into Whispering Sound, rose the Hightower, its beacon fires bright against the dawn. From where it stood atop the bluffs of Battle Island, its shadow cut the city like a sword. Those born and raised in Oldtown could tell the time of day by where that shadow fell. Some claimed a man could see all the way to the Wall from the top. Perhaps that was why Lord Leyton had not made the descent in more than a decade, preferring to rule his city from the clouds.

(Leyton Hightower, leat-ean means "a fair-sized bird" in Gaelic, a bird inside a weirwood tower casting shadow swords.  (Bran means "crow" in Gaelic and Welsh)  Leyton sounds like "lighten" and the Hightower words are "We Light the Way"

 

Arya Stark (shadow sword)

"Quiet as a shadow. Fear cuts deeper than swords."  Arya goes to Braavos, and to the House of Black and White and trains to become a face-changing assassin.  Braavos is a metaphor for a weirwood hill--a hidden city underneath a stone giant with flaming eyes, (who protects the city in exchange for child sacrifices) presided over by the Sea-Lord (the greenseer).  The House of Black and White is a mirror of Bloodraven's cave, a shrine to the god of death, filled with skulls and bones, with endless tunnels underground.  Arya learns to put on the semblance of dead people.  A weirwood cave academy that trains shadow swords and reanimates the dead.  Jaqen himself had red and white hair, and worships a god of death.

In George's short story A Night at the Tarn House, Lirianne is a shadow sword, she puts on the semblance of dead people and assassinates wizards. 

"And there were the shadow swords to consider as well. Some claimed they were shapechangers, with faces malleable as candle wax. Molloqos did not know the truth of that, but of their malice he had no doubt."  (when Jaqen changed faces it was like "his face had melted and changed when he ran his hand across it, 'Valar morghulis,' " [I am studying the Silmarrilion right now, and the god of death and chaos is the Valar Morgoth]  The Kindley Man's face also melted: "Arya kissed him where his nose should be and plucked the grave worm from his eye to eat it, but it melted like a shadow in her hand. . . The yellow skull was melting too, and the kindliest old man that she had ever seen was smiling down at her."

. . .

"And as the magic failed, so too did the magicians. Some fell to their own servants, the demons and sandestins who once obeyed their every whim. Others were hunted down by shadow swords, or torn apart by angry mobs of women. The wisest slipped away to other times and other places, their vast and drafty manses vanishing like mist before the sunrise."  (wizards killed by their own creations)

. . .

“Now look again upon your companions, and tell me what you see.”

Chimwazle’s mouth gaped open, and his bulging eyes looked as though they might pop out of his skull. “The girl is cloaked in shadows,” he gasped, “and under her freckly face I see a skull.”

 

Lirianne recalls the real life of the girl whose face she is wearing:

“The sun is going out. All the world is growing dark.” Lirianne remembered another inn from another time, a modest place but friendly, with clean rushes on the floor and a dog asleep before the hearth. The world had been dying even then, and the nights were dark and full of terrors, but within those walls it had still been possible to find fellowship, good cheer, even love. Lirianne remembered roasts turning above the crackling fire, the way the fat would spit as it dripped down into the flames. She remembered the beer, dark and heady, smelling of hops. She remembered a girl too, an innkeeper’s daughter with bright eyes and a silly smile who’d loved a wandering warfarer. Dead now, poor thing. But what of it? The world was almost dead as well."

Earlier she had said that she herself was that innkeeper's daughter:

When I was fifteen a young adventurer was wounded outside my father’s inn. My father was too gentle to let him die there in the dust, so we carried him upstairs and I nursed him back to health. Soon after he departed I found I was with child. For seven months my belly swelled, and I dreamed of a babe with his blue eyes. In my eighth month the swelling ceased. Thereafter I grew slimmer with every passing day. The midwife explained it all to me. What use to bring new life into a dying world? My womb was wiser than my heart, she said. And when I asked her why the world was dying, she leaned close and whispered ‘wizard’s work.’ ”

 

Mel and Stannis' baby became a shadow sword, Craster's sons become shadow swords, the children the 13th Lord Commander sacrificed became shadow swords, and Lirianne had a fetus that disappeared and she herself became a shadow sword, and she implies that a wizard was responsible.

 

Ghost Grass

I can't remember if this has come up before, but blades of ghostly grass is a play on words or mistranslation of "shadow swords"--as ghosts are shades or shadows, and grass grows in blades and swords are blades.  The ghost grass lives under the Shadow and will one day cover the whole world--one day the Shadow will cover all the world, and the Shadow Swords will come with it.  They are near to Stygai--the Heart of Darkness, an underground cave city full of demons and worse things, or is it the Heart(tree) of Darkness?  The River Ash might be a reference to Yggdrasil the ash tree.

 

Miscellaneous

The Ghost of the High Heart: "I dreamt of a man without a face, waiting on a bridge that swayed and swung. On his shoulder perched a drowned crow with seaweed hanging from his wings."  The crow is associated with faceless man assassins, the crow is on its shoulder telling it what to do, a drowned crow from under the green sea is a greenseer.

This has been covered extensively by @LmL but the Others are described as "emerging from the wood" and they are the "White Walkers of the Wood" and when Jaqen appears to Arya in the Harrenhal Gods Wood:  "Jaqen H'ghar stood so still in the darkness that he seemed one of the trees."

When the Other appears to Sam after the Fist of the First Men, "The lower branches of the great green sentinel shed their burden of snow with a soft wet plop. . . . On its back was a rider pale as ice. . . . The Other slid gracefully from the saddle to stand upon the snow. Sword-slim it was, and milky white. Its armor rippled and shifted as it moved, and its feet did not break the crust of the new-fallen snow."

The Sentinel tree drops a burden of snow, then an White Walker appears, a creature made of ice--the tree spawned the White Walker.

When Sam and Gilly are in the wildling village after the Mutiny at Craster's Keep, Sam prays to the weirwood, then a few hours later when the sun goes down the wights and the ravens show up.  I think Bloodraven and the Great Other both heard his prayer and they both sent their minions to intercept Sam and Gilly. 

 

 

BONUS

One of the opening shots of Forbidden Planet is of a spaceship in front of a total solar eclipse, (second shot) and the crew of the spaceship say "a ship that creates its own eclipses"--with the implication that a spaceship caused a total solar eclipse, which is what I have been saying for years is what caused the Long Night.  The Second Moon of Planetos is entirely black and can be moved to eclipse the sun, and remain parked there for a period of years.  I think that 8-year old George saw this it stuck in his imagination. 

So, a spaceship causes a solar eclipse, then a man under a weirwood grove psychically casts shadow monsters that terrorize the planet.  Terror is ended when Weirwood network gets exploded into space.

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