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By Odin's Beard

Castles are Weirwoods

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"Giant had crammed himself inside the hollow of a dead oak. 'How d'ye like my castle, Lord Snow?'          "

 

I think that all the descriptions of the castles and the people that inhabit them are metaphors for the weirwoods and their inhabitants--and that their descriptions are providing pieces of the puzzle to solve the riddle of what the weirwoods are and where they came from and what will be their fate. 

One of the main points of this exercise is to prove that @LmL is wrong about his hypothesis about what caused the Long Night.  His theory is that the "Stone Fist" symbolism represents a mushroom cloud of fallout from moon meteors crashing into the Earth which caused the Long Night, whereas I am going to argue that the Stone Fist refers to the Weirwoods themselves.  So pay special attention to when castles are described as stone fists, or when towers are fingers of a stone giant.

This may have its source with Lovecraft, who several times used the imagery of buried giant.   In the Festival: "it was a burying-ground where black gravestones stuck ghoulishly through the snow like the decayed fingernails of a gigantic corpse."

And in the Tree on the Hill, the Black Goat is an Otherworldly tree that is described as a giant gnarled hand: "Where I had, in the landscape itself, seen the twisted, half-sentient tree, there was here visible only a gnarled, terrible hand or talon with fingers or feelers shockingly distended and evidently groping toward something on the ground or in the spectator’s direction."

And in the Shunned House there is a giant white vampiric fungus buried under a house.

And Cthuhu was an Old One who is miles high, who sleeps in a tomb under the sea, and will awake at the end of days.

The weirwood roots make up a super-organism, so that Westeros can be thought of as a buried giant.  It has an Eye, a neck, fingers, and an Arm holding a Sunspear.  This buried giant will awake at the End of Days.

 

To set the stage I would like to remind you that many famous castles were raised by Bran the Builder, and in Jon's weirwood dream, Bran is a weirwood that literally rises out of the ground.  Bran raises castles and weirwoods.

 

Starfall

A castle rises up where a magic stone falling star meteorite landed:

"At the mouth of the Torrentine, House Dayne raised its castle on an island where that roaring, tumultuous river broadens to meet the sea. Legend says the first Dayne was led to the site when he followed the track of a falling star and there found a stone of magical powers."

The story of the Daynes following a star to establish their home is a direct reference to the Lord of the Rings, where Earendil was an half-elf who was launched off of the planet in a magic white ship and he became the Dawn-Star.  The Dunedain followed the Dawn-Star Earendil to a star-shaped island that emerged out of the sea.  The island they named Numenor (numen means "divine power of god" / "fairy").  Many years later Numenor sank into the sea at the same time that the island of Avallone (with its WhiteTower) was launched into space.  In a confused way, it describes a magic white object in a cycle of landing on Earth and later launching off of it.  It does not take much imagination to think that Numenor was the star itself that fell to Earth, and then went back into the sky (which is the plot of Lovecraft's The Color out of Space)

Has a Tower called the Palestone Sword.  Implies a Tower that is a weapon.

Starfall is an island in the Torentine.

In Anglo-Saxon torr means "tower, watch tower, rock, and impact, dashing together"

In Latin torris means "firebrand" and torrens means "burning" and torreo means "scorch, burn"

In Gaelic tor means "tower, heap, pile, grave" and "thunder" and "tree root"

A burning river of flame, associated with firebrands, falling stars, towers, and thunder.

 

The magic great sword Dawn is made out of that meteorite—it is pale as milkglass and alive with light, weirwood is pale as bone and alive, the Sword of the Morning is a constellation of stars that rises just before dawn.  Dawn is Lightbringer is a celestial sword, is a weirwood rocket that launches to end the Long Night and bring the Dawn.

 

 

Winterfell

It is compared to a monstrous stone tree:

“To a boy, Winterfell was a grey stone labyrinth of walls and towers and courtyards and tunnels spreading out in all directions. In the older parts of the castle, the halls slanted up and down so that you couldn't even be sure what floor you were on. The place had grown over the centuries like some monstrous stone tree, Maester Luwin told him once, and its branches were gnarled and thick and twisted, its roots sunk deep into the earth.”

“The stone is strong, Bran told himself, the roots of the trees go deep, and under the ground the Kings of Winter sit their thrones.”

 

Winterfell is described a being living castle:

“the warm halls of Winterfell, where the hot waters ran through the walls like blood through a man's body.”

It has extensive tunnels and many layered Crypts beneath it.  The magic of the crypts hold vengeful spirits trapped underground, these undead are waiting for the time when they will be reanimated.  It was built around a weirwood, the location was somehow special.  It’s was built by Bran the Builder (or at least started it, and he built the crypts).

 

It has a BrokenTower that was struck by lightning and set afire (recalls the Grey King and the tree set ablaze), the crows nest there (a crow's nest is called a crannog in gaelic), Bran befriends the crows in the Tower.

 

Of particular interest to me is the belief that a dragon lives underneath the castle, and when Winterfell catches on fire, the dragon awakes, the tower collapses, and the dragon is released, and the dragon flies away in the sky.  

"Yet the smallfolk of Winterfell and the winter town have been known to claim that the springs are heated by the breath of a dragon that sleeps beneath the castle.

"We made noise enough to wake a dragon . . . The castle's dead and burned"

"in the sky he [Summer] saw a great winged snake whose roar was a river of flame. He bared his teeth, but then the snake was gone."

In Norse myth, a dragon lives under the world tree Yggdrasil.

In Arthurian myth there were once a castle built by Vortigern that kept collapsing during construction, a young boy named Merlin figured out that it was because there were dragons in a cave under the site, so they dug a tunnel and released the red and white dragons from their lair--who flew up into the sky.  The Red and White Dragons are weirwoods.

 

“The weirwood was the heart of Winterfell, Lord Eddard always said . . . but to save the castle Jon would have to tear that heart up by its ancient roots, and feed it to the red woman's hungry fire god.”

A weirwood uprooted and burned is a description red comet being made.

(Note on Labyrinths)

Winterfell is several times described as a stone labyrinth, "the great stone maze of Winterfell," and as we will see, one of the most consistent metaphors for a weirwood cave is that of a maze with a bull / bole / white tree at the center of it.  This is a reference to the Minotaur.  And tor / taur means "tower" and "bull",

At Yeen there is an underground labyrinth where the Old Ones dwell.

In Lorath, the mysterious gigantic maze leads to the underworld, in Gaelic rath means a circular rampart or palisade around a fortified residence, “a fort, dwelling or house, a prince’s seat, loosely a barrow or artificial mound” 

Dineen’s says and enclosed garth (garden) is a called a liss, and a rath around a garth is “lios na rath  “lo-­­rath” could be a contraction of that phrase.  So Lorath is a circle of trees on a hill around a garth/barrow/prince’s seat, and it features a maze that leads to the underworld.

liss/ lios is another word that is a synonym of rath. And means “a garth, enclosure or courtyard, a small circumvallation or ring-fort, a fairy fort, rath or liss; a court; an ancient Irish steading”

 

 

The Eyrie

Aire means “fishing weir” in gaelic, and eirghe means "arising"

“Lysa's apartments opened over a small garden, a circle of dirt and grass planted with blue flowers and ringed on all sides by tall white towers.”

It has white towers in a circle, on a (very) high hill, sickly boy sits a weirwood throne, boy hears singers, walls are white marble, weirwood moon door.  Liss means “garth, fairy fort, and circular palisade”

Lios-araich means “nursery for plants”

The Giant’s Lance and Alyssa’s Tears Ice Waterfall:  In the series Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn, there is a gigantic frozen waterfall called the Uduntree--Odin's Tree, which is Yggdrasil, Bloodraven hanging on the weirwood roots is a depiction of Odin hung on Yggdrasil.  In MST, they say that Udun climbed to the stars on the Uduntree. 

Alyssa’s tears will form an ice waterfall that reaches the ground during the Long Night.  The Giant’s Lance is the weapon of the Weirwood, and it is associated with a massive ice waterfall/white tree that reaches into space. 


 

Storm’s End

“here the trees rule, it is said, and the castles oft seem as if they have grown from the earth instead of being built. But the knights and lords of the rainwood have roots as deep as the trees that shelter them,”

Storm's End is a round, totally smooth castle raised by Bran the Builder (+ the CotF) and its Tower is a spiked stone fist:

"A seventh castle he raised, most massive of all. Some said the children of the forest helped him build it, shaping the stones with magic; others claimed that a small boy told him what he must do, a boy who would grow to be Bran the Builder."

". . . Yet Storm's End endured, through centuries and tens of centuries, a castle like no other. Its great curtain wall was a hundred feet high, unbroken by arrow slit or postern, everywhere rounded, curving, smooth, its stones fit so cunningly together that nowhere was crevice nor angle nor gap by which the wind might enter. That wall was said to be forty feet thick at its narrowest, and near eighty on the seaward face, a double course of stones with an inner core of sand and rubble. Within that mighty bulwark, the kitchens and stables and yards sheltered safe from wind and wave. Of towers, there was but one, a colossal drum tower, windowless where it faced the sea, so large that it was granary and barracks and feast hall and lord's dwelling all in one, crowned by massive battlements that made it look from afar like a spiked fist atop an upthrust arm."

The curtain wall is a bulwark, which comes from "bole" + "work," as it refered to tree trunks stuck in the ground to form a wall--so it is a smooth tree trunk wall. 

 

(The tale of the repeated collapses of the castle recalls the story of the dragons under Vortigern's castle causing it to collapse.)

The Stone Fist is the weirwood.  Crofter’s Village weirwood also likened to a stone fist:  

"The crofter's village stood between two lakes, the larger dotted with small wooded islands that punched up through the ice like the frozen fists of some drowned giant. From one such island rose a weirwood gnarled and ancient, its bole and branches white as the surrounding snows. "

One of the meanings of croft is "underground chamber, crypt" and the other refers to an enclosed garden, like a garth.

Ancient spells ward shadow swords from entering Storm's End, but one sneaks in through tunnels underneath.  Bloodraven's cave is warded against wights from entering.

 

The Storm Lord

"Maybe he came from the Isle of Faces," said Bran. "Was he green?" In Old Nan's stories, the guardians had dark green skin and leaves instead of hair. Sometimes they had antlers too, but Bran didn't see how the mystery knight could have worn a helm if he had antlers. "I bet the old gods sent him."

The green men on the Isle of Faces have "antlers" which refers to the weirwood trees above their heads when they are seated on their weirwood throne in their weirwood cave, they wear the ring of weirwoods like a crown.  

The Baratheons are a metaphor for these Antlered Green men, and barathrum means "abyss" in Latin, and rabarta mean “storm” and “a burst of anger, fury”  They wear the Antler crown and antler helms, 

Robert's weapon is a great war hammer, and he kills a black dragon with it.  Gendry is his son and he is a Smith, geannaire means "hammer" in Gaelic, and stannad means "hammering" in Gaelic

“his great antlered helm on his head, his warhammer in hand, sitting his horse like a horned god.”

Renly wore forest-green armor, had green eyes, and wore an antler helm, he was a green man. 

In Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn, the dark lord is called the Storm King, and he is stuck inside the Dream Road, and is appears to the Norn Queen as a presence in a well deep underground.
 

 

Greywater Watch

It is a Floating Castle in a swamp (mire~mere), it can’t be conquered because no-one can find it.  Crannog means "tree" and "crow's nest" in Gaelic, and refers to tree huts in the middle of an island.   In George's short story The Men of Greywater Station, there is a telepathic hive-minded tree/fungus that spreads from planet to planet by sending spores into the upper atmosphere to be carried away on the solar wind.  It landed on Greywater and spread from a central location, eventually taking over all life on the planet.  I think Greywater Watch is a very strong hint that it is related to Greywater Station.  The word gree means "to be of one mind" ~ gree-water

The Men of Greywater Station is a take on Joseph Campbell's classic story Who Goes There?  about a shape-shifting telepathic alien that wants to take over all life on the planet, and in the 1950's movie version The Thing from Another World the monster was a malevolent plant-based alien.

A flying castle could be thought of as a floating castle.  I think the ancient Fisher Queens were greenseers in a floating castle: "Fisher Queens, who ruled the lands adjoining the Silver Sea—the great inland sea at the heart of the grasslands—from a floating palace that made its way endlessly around its shores. . .  The Fisher Queens were wise and benevolent and favored of the gods, we are told, and kings and lords and wise men sought the floating palace for their counsel."

 

Sunspear

The Sandship is a castle in the shape of a ship, the seat of the Martell's (martel means "hammer"), in the center of a maze.

"First the slender Spear Tower, a hundred-and-a-half feet tall and crowned with a spear of gilded steel that added another thirty feet to its height; then the mighty Tower of the Sun, with its dome of gold and leaded glass; last the dun-colored Sandship, looking like some monstrous dromond that had washed ashore and turned to stone."

Implies a moveable castle that is a ship, and a ship that turned to stone, ships are made out of weirwood and weirwoods turn to stone.  And Towers that are weapons.

Nagga’s Ribs are compared to a dromond's mast, and the Sandship is a castle that is like a monstrous dromond washed ashore and turned to stone.  And it has towers that are sun-spears--which is an apt description of a comet.

Labyrinth walls with a Threefold gate, and the Three-fold gate leads to the underworld in hindu mythology. 

"The Winding Walls were raised some seven hundred years ago, wrapping Sunspear and winding throughout the shadow city in a snaking, defensive curtain that would force even the boldest enemy to lose their way. Only the Threefold Gate provides a straight path to the castle, cutting through the Winding Walls, and these gates are heavily defended at need."

Sunspear is a synonym for comet.   Water gardens are where the Children (of the Forest) play.  Rhoynish towers, royn is an alternate spelling of Rowan, the mountain ash, witch wood. 

Arm of Dorne holding sunspear, Dorn means fist and thorn, Orn means “tree” in Tolkien as in Malorn, which is a cosmic tree.

Westeros is a living giant, with a God's Eye, and Dorne is its Arm holding a Sun-spear, that is a Stone Ship, that is a comet.

 

 

Harrenhal

Huge haunted castle, built with weirwoods, compared to a giant stone fist:

“Across the pewter waters of the lake the towers of Black Harren's folly appeared at last, five twisted fingers of black, misshapen stone grasping for the sky.

 "Weirwoods that had stood three thousand years were cut down for beams and rafters."

Harren allegedly mixed human blood into the mortar for the stonework—human sacrifice required to build it, like weirwood trees.  Five towers like a stone hand reaching for the sky.

"Evil King Harren had walled himself up inside, so Aegon unleashed his dragons and turned the castle into a pyre. Nan said that fiery spirits still haunted the blackened towers. Sometimes men went to sleep safe in their beds and were found dead in the morning, all burnt up."

The King is walled up inside the stone fist, the castle bursts into flame in the night, is associated with dragon fire, and now is a black ruined castle.

 

Hightower

The Hightower is a White Tower with a red flame atop, that was built by Brandon the Builder.  There is a magician hiding inside the Hightower studying spells and observing the world.  The Citadel is nearby and it is a repository of all human knowledge.  "Oldtown was a veritable labyrinth of a city"  

The Hightower is on an island in the Honeywine (weirwood paste reference) in the Whispering Sound (weirwood leaves).

 

Riverrun

Red Castle in the shape of a ship, in emergencies it can become an island.  King of the Trident, implies a God under-the-sea.

tuille means "flood, deluge, torrent" and tuill means "hole, cave" in Gaelic.  tul means "red" in Hindi and tula means "weighing as a test of guilt or innocence" (Tully's pass judgment)

ostoir means "host," and osta means "cold," iosta means "great power," ostarius means "door keeper" in Latin

 

Pyke

Pike is a long-handled wooden weapon and a fish.  Grey-green Castle on an island falling into the sea.  Sea Tower, Bloody Keep, all linked with elevated bridges, like tree limbs.  Kraken is an upside down tree.  Seastone chair is an inverted weirwood throne, made by the Deep Ones, and found on Great Wyk (wick) –a great candle / weirwood,.  Great Wyk is surrounded by Nagga’s cradle, and Nagga’s ribs are found on a hill there, forty-four stone ribs of Nagga, a dead sea dragon, rise from the ground like large white trees as wide as a dromond's mast and twice as tall. 

Greking means “dawn” and gryja means “dawn” and krieken means “dawn”  The Grey King slew a sea dragon that drowned islands, and a tree getting struck by lightning figures into his legend, and he wore a driftwood crown, and turned grey and went under the sea.  The Grey King built a ship out of weirwood.

Nagga’s ribs look like a rib cage that burst open, they are the remains of a weirwood grove that launched a sea dragon, a chest-burster that launched a heart-tree, and drowned the Iron Islands when launched.

“On the crown of the hill four-and-forty monstrous stone ribs rose from the earth like the trunks of great pale trees. The sight made Aeron's heart beat faster.”

croicean “bark of a tree” in Gaelic

ballan means "bullock" as well as "any wooden vessel" and gryja means "dawn" = a wooden ship that brings the Dawn.

I already mentioned that the Antler crown of the green men is a reference to a weirwood hill, and the driftwood crown is another such reference.

 

“Nagga's ribs became the beams and pillars and her jaws the throne. According to legend, the Hall had been warmed by Nagga's living fire and on the walls hung tapestries made of silver seaweed. The men sworn to the Grey King ate at a table shaped like a large starfish while seated on thrones made from mother-of-pearl. Upon the Grey King's death, the Storm God snuffed out Nagga's fire and the sea stole the fanged throne.”

Under-the-sea theme, Grey King’s departure coincides with Nagga’s fire going out.  Jaws/throne weirwood eating greenseers.  Nagga's jaws are a weirwood throne.

 

 

Highgarden

White castle on a hill with hedge maze and has weirwoods at the center, built by Garth the Gardener—Garth means enclosed garden and fishing weir.  Labyrinth with a white bole / white bull at the center.  Weirwood is the Minotaur (Moloch / Melkor)

"Highgarden is girded by three concentric rings of crenellated curtain walls, made of finely dressed white stone and protected by towers as slender and graceful as maidens. Each wall is higher and thicker than the one below it. Between the outermost wall that girdles the foot of the hill and the middle wall above it can be found Highgarden's famed briar maze, a vast and complicated labyrinth of thorns and hedges maintained for centuries for the pleasure and delight of the castle's occupants and guests...and for defensive purposes, for intruders unfamiliar with the maze cannot easily find their way through its traps and dead ends to the castle gates."

. . .

"And Highgarden's lush green godswood is almost as renowned, for in the place of a single heart tree it boasts three towering, graceful, ancient weirwoods whose limbs have grown so entangled over the centuries that they appear to be almost a single tree with three trunks, reaching for each other above a tranquil pool. Legend has it these trees, known in the Reach as the Three Singers, were planted by Garth Greenhand himself."

Weirwoods at the center of a maze.

 

Edited by By Odin's Beard

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19 hours ago, By Odin's Beard said:

"Giant had crammed himself inside the hollow of a dead oak. 'How d'ye like my castle, Lord Snow?'          "

 

I think that all the descriptions of the castles and the people that inhabit them are metaphors for the weirwoods and their inhabitants--and that their descriptions are providing pieces of the puzzle to solve the riddle of what the weirwoods are and where they came from and what will be their fate. 

One of the main points of this exercise is to prove that @LmL is wrong about his hypothesis about what caused the Long Night.  His theory is that the "Stone Fist" symbolism represents a mushroom cloud of fallout from moon meteors crashing into the Earth which caused the Long Night, whereas I am going to argue that the Stone Fist refers to the Weirwoods themselves.  So pay special attention to when castles are described as stone fists, or when towers are fingers of a stone giant.

[...]

Loved the research - can't comment on LmL, but enthusiastic about weirwoods and castles, with giants as the link. It is very workable for giants to emerge as great powers composed of smaller lives working in concert - Tywin's army is explicitly described as such, castles obviously fit, and the old gods seem to fit as well, in the weirwoods.

The heart tree with its face and character is surrounded by the stony castle (also characterful) like a crab within its shell. Interesting.

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3 hours ago, Springwatch said:

Loved the research - can't comment on LmL, but enthusiastic about weirwoods and castles, with giants as the link. It is very workable for giants to emerge as great powers composed of smaller lives working in concert - Tywin's army is explicitly described as such, castles obviously fit, and the old gods seem to fit as well, in the weirwoods.

The heart tree with its face and character is surrounded by the stony castle (also characterful) like a crab within its shell. Interesting.

In George’s story Sandkings, the protagonist Cress buys some alien bugs and puts them in a sand-filled aquarium.  The bugs are called "sandkings" and they are hive-minded creatures that are controlled by a gelatinous creature called a maw, the maw lives inside a little castle that the sandkings build for it, and they care and feed the maw.  Cress is their god, and the sandkings carve his likeness on their castles (Cress is close to Cross, Cress is their god, Cress mistreats his sandkings and they eventually grow large, escape the aquarium and eat him).

Face carved on a castle, with a hive-minded telepathic creature living inside of it.

I think ASoIaF is the reverse sandkings, the humans live inside of their castle, and care and feed the maw that lives there (the weirwood) the humans go out and do battle to defend their castle and its maw, and the humans are being controlled by the maw.

 

Interesting that you mentioned crabs, because craob is Gaelic for "tree" and I think that played a big part in George's development of ASoIaF.  Lovecraft's story The Whisperer in Darkness is about a race of alien crabs (craobs = trees) that are associated with the Black Goat of the Woods, and the Black Goat is depicted as a carnivorous sentient tree, (from its description in the Tree on the Hill)  The crabs are red and white, that have greenblood, that are telepathic, that live in caves underground, that are associated with standing stone circles, that are believed to be the origin of celtic myths about fairies and lurking little people of the bogs and raths, they are called The Old Ones, they hate light, and they live inside Round Hill where they remove peoples' brains and put them in jars, and the disembodied brains can go backward and forward in time, and to other worlds.  They are stored in jars with three sockets in a triangle, like a skull--so like skulls set on a shelf.  The crabs can replace people with changelings/doppelgangers.

Bran calls Bloodraven a whisperer in darkness.  In the story the protagonist Wilmarth is asked to visit a remote location by who he thinks is Akeley, but it is actually a crab(tree) that has taken Akeley's brain, and replaced him with a doppelganger (perhaps Nyarlathotep himself, who "puts on the waxen mask and the robe that hides").  So the person that Wilmarth meets and talks to--the Whisperer in Darkness--is actually a tree disguised as a human, that put on the semblance of Akeley in order to trap Wilmarth and steal his brain.  I think Bloodraven is a tree disguised as a human, that is trying to steal Bran's brain.

 

Oh, and most importantly, the crabs / craobs / trees / Black Goat of the Woods, can fly through interstellar space on vast membranous wings:

"Once a specimen was seen flying—launching itself from the top of a bald, lonely hill at night and vanishing in the sky after its great flapping wings had been silhouetted an instant against the full moon."

A tree that gets launched off of a lonely hill at night. 

Edited by By Odin's Beard

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In Gaelic the phrase sgeith-nan-reultag means "a glutinous substance supposed to fall from stars" 

sgeith means "spawn, vomit, shape, and jellyfish" and reultag means "little star" (sgeith-rionnag means "meteor")

I think this is were the word shoggoth comes from, from the word sgeith.  A shoggoth is a self-luminous gelatinous shape-shifting creature that Lovecraft used in various stories, in At the Mountains of Madness they were slaves of the Old Ones that turned on their masters and killed them.

In The Shadow Over Innsmouth shoggoths were being brought up from under the sea by the fish people (who serve Cthulhu) for an assault on mankind.

But most importantly, I think the thing that fell out of the sky in The Color Out of Space was a shoggoth.  There was a weird stone that fell out of the sky and inside of it was a gelatinous substance that was some sort of living creature which took up residence in Gardener's well, that fastened itself to tree roots, and sucked the life out of everything, and lured people to jump into a well, and it spread blight underground turning everything grey.  At the climax of the story the well begins to glow, and the trees around it are tipped with flame (like flaming weirwood leaves), then the shoggoth shoots itself back into space.

The theme of a tree from outer space that spreads blight and terror is the plot of the Tree on the Hill, as well, and a tree that is the gate to hell, and wants to create an endless night.

Lovecraft did not have a cohesive mythology, and he sort of kept telling versions of the same story over and over, about a gelatinous, telepathic, tentacled, demon, star-spawn that falls out of the sky and does horrible things to humans.  I think George realized this and extracted the common thread and the weirwood network was the result.

Edited by By Odin's Beard

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1 hour ago, Springwatch said:

And thanks for reading the creepy stuff so I don't have to.

I think Lovecraft should be required reading for anyone interested in ASoIaF.

While I am thinking about Nyarlathotep, in the story The Rats in the Walls, the protaganist Delapore is the heir to a ruined castle.  The locals around the castle think that the Delapores were werewolves.  He renovates the castle and moves in.  He has repeated nightmares about the crypts under the castle, and about being led into them.  At the end of the story he is finally able to reach the caves under the castle, and discovers that it is the "antechamber to hell" where his ancestors raised and slaughtered humans for cannibal feasts. 

"It was the eldritch scurrying of those fiend-born rats, always questing for new horrors, and determined to lead me on even unto those grinning caverns of earth’s centre where Nyarlathotep, the mad faceless god, howls blindly to the piping of two amorphous idiot flute-players."

 

A man who is a werewolf discovers the truth about himself and his ancestors in the crypts under a ruined castle after having ominous nightmares about the crypts and the secrets that lie within.  The crypts under his castle are the entrance to hell where Nyarlathotep, a mad faceless god dwells (who either is the Black Goat, or is closely associated with it), .  The story ends with Delapore becoming his ancestors and eating the face of his fat friend, who is described like a pig.

Jon is a werewolf (of sorts), who does not know the truth about his ancestry, who is the heir to a ruined castle, who has nightmares about the crypts, that are the entrance to hell, where the weirwood dwells.  Jon will discover that the Starks are descended from the Others and he will embrace his heritage, and lead the White Walkers.   Samwell is Ser Piggy and I would not be surprised if Jon ends up killing him and eating his face.

 

Edited by By Odin's Beard

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2 hours ago, By Odin's Beard said:

I think Lovecraft should be required reading for anyone interested in ASoIaF.

[...]

A man who is a werewolf discovers the truth about himself and his ancestors in the crypts under a ruined castle after having ominous nightmares about the crypts and the secrets that lie within.  The crypts under his castle are the entrance to hell where Nyarlathotep, a mad faceless god dwells (who either is the Black Goat, or is closely associated with it), .  The story ends with Delapore becoming his ancestors and eating the face of his fat friend, who is described like a pig.

Jon is a werewolf (of sorts), who does not know the truth about his ancestry, who is the heir to a ruined castle, who has nightmares about the crypts, that are the entrance to hell, where the weirwood dwells.  Jon will discover that the Starks are descended from the Others and he will embrace his heritage, and lead the White Walkers.   Samwell is Ser Piggy and I would not be surprised if Jon ends up killing him and eating his face.

It is convincing - though, of course, nothing is binding on what GRRM writes in the future.

I'd like to have read the Lovecraft stuff, but now is definitely not the time.  I might risk the BBC Sounds podcast version - no doubt updated and dramatised to within an inch of its life, but it might put me in the mood for the genre later on.

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7 minutes ago, Springwatch said:

I'd like to have read the Lovecraft stuff, but now is definitely not the time.  I might risk the BBC Sounds podcast version

A guy on youtube called Horrorbabble does pretty good readings of Lovecraft's works (once you get past his weird fake accent), I have them on my Ipod and thats how I end up listening to them dozens of times.   I think I have listened to the Doom the Came to Sarnath 50 times by now.

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So in Irish myth the sidhe (pronounced "she" --the faeries) lived in the hollow hills, which were the entrance to the Otherworld.  A ring of mushrooms was called a fairy-ring, and there was a concept that strong blasts of wind were caused by the fairies, and they were called sidhe-gaoithe (sounds like "she-goth"--shoggoth)

The blast was believed to be caused by fairies flying on the wind.

sidhe means "a blast, a puff, a leap or bound" and sidhe gaoithe, "a sudden blast of wind"

gaoth in addition to meaning "puff, wind, blast" also means "dart"

The word sug / suig / suigh means "to absorb, to suck, to draw in, to suck dry" and the shoggoth from the Color Out of Space draws in its victims, and sucks the lifeforce out of them, until they collapse in grey desolation.  Which is what the Black Goat from the Tree on the Hill did also.

 

So, the shoggoth that fell from the sky was a sgeith-nan-reultag ("a glutinous substance supposed to fall from stars")

(recall that sgeith means "spawn, vomit, shape, and jellyfish" and reultag means "little star" (sgeith-rionnag means "meteor"))

 

After it sucked the life out of its surroundings and absorbed energy from drawing the lightning, it was able to blast itself off the earth and become a sidhe-gaoithe, a fairy blast.  The launching of the shoggoth was accompanied by a huge blast of wind.

A sgeith becomes a sidhe-gaoithe; a falling star comes to Earth, sucks the life out of people, and becomes a fairy blast and leaps off the Earth.

saoth is another word for sidhe (faery) and saotha means "to sail"

siol means "seed" (siol sounds like sail)

 

The shoggoth is the means by which the "fairies" sail from planet to planet, it is a starseed. 

siog means "streak or stripe" the falling star was a streak, and it caused another streak when it left the planet.

seod means "precious stone" the Strange Stone was a seed in the stone.

 

-------

George's story Nightflyers features a telepathic star-faring creature called the Volcryn (volucrine means "birdlike"), it is a starseed that sailed interstellar space on vast membranous wings.  When it passes by an inhabited planet psi-sensitive people have strange visions. 

The crabs [craobs/trees/fungus] from the Whisperer in Darkness, landed on Earth, took minerals and absorbed brains, then would fly off into space again.  They were supposed to be the real origin of the myths about sidhe living in hills.

As I already noted in the op, in George's story the Men of Greywater Station, a hive-minded tree/fungus spreads from planet to planet by its spores being picked up by the solar wind and blown to another world.  These colonies on separate worlds are connected by telepathic communication--a fungal network that is a space brain that dominates all life on a planets they inhabit.  The Fyndii are controlled by the fungus, and fyndi is very close to fyngi--fungi.  Feinnide means "soldier" in Gaelic.

In Lord of the Rings, the Elves are called Children of the Stars, and when they depart the Earth for the Undying Lands they literally take a ship into the sky to reach Valinor.  The malorn trees are described as boats, masts of magical Otherworldly ships, etc. and Earendil was shot off of the planet in a magic white ship. 

In Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath, the zoogs lives inside/under a magic tree that grew from a seed dropped down from the moon. 

And Yggdrasil was a cosmic white tree that literally connected different worlds (and a dragon lived under it)

In Larry Niven's World of Ptavvs, and A Relic of the Empire, he has alien trees that generate sap that is highly explosive, that are able to launch themselves into space to colonize other planets. 

The crabs from Whisperer in Darkness have greenblood, and I think Wildfire is a secretion of the weirwoods that it stores underground in vast caverns, it is the greenblood of the craobs [trees]. 

In Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn, the sithe are described as being alien.  The sithe lived in White Towers and inside/under trees, and the trees are described as boats.  The White Tower is a spectre from another world, and it is like a tree that is a god, that is full of stars.  under the White Tower there is a reservoir of highly explosive fluid, called Perdruinese Fire.  At the climax of the story the White Tree seems to leave the surface of the Earth.

Cthulhu's minions are called star-spawn, and in the Call of Cthulhu, he mentions a huge white polypous (looks like a polyp, like a hydra with a mouth surrounded by tentacles) thing that lives on a island on a hidden lake, that has luminous eyes, and is "nightmare itself" and it makes men dream.  They fell out of the sky in the ancient past.  The Call of Cthulhu also mentions the idea of "riding on a comet's tail"

 

 

I think Hardhome comes from the gaelic arduigim (pronounced "ard uyim"--sounds like hard home) means "to raise, lift, ascend, hoist") ard means "hill" and uigim means "to throw" and uiging means "ship"

or it could be ard ("hill")+ uaim ("cave, crypt")

Most of the CotF left the planet inside their hard home, the stone tree.  The incident was like the rising of the Sun in the North.  And the shrieks from the tunnels were those who were left behind.

Edited by By Odin's Beard

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In the Quran, there is a subterranean tree in hell called the Zaqqum Tree, and in hell you are made to eat the fruit of the tree and it boils your insides and bursts out of you.  The weirwood grows underground, and Bran is made to eat its seed, and the roots will start to grow out of him.

The isle / eile of faces:

In Gaelic eilean means "island" and eile means "Other" and "prayer" and eileach means "weir" and "mound" (and two of the definitions around it mention deer, and the green men have antlers.)

eileabair means "hellebore" and I think that the Isle of Faces is the gate to hell, a hole in the ground that leads to hell--a hell-bore, where the hell tree resides.

 

After the Hardhome Incident, it is said that "hell had swallowed it"

Quote
Hardhome sits on a sheltered bay and has a natural harbor deep enough for the biggest ships afloat.
. . .
Hardhome had been halfway toward becoming a town, the only true town north of the Wall, until the night six hundred years ago when hell had swallowed it. Its people had been carried off into slavery or slaughtered for meat, depending on which version of the tale you believed, their homes and halls consumed in a conflagration that burned so hot that watchers on the Wall far to the south had thought the sun was rising in the north. Afterward ashes rained down on haunted forest and Shivering Sea alike for almost half a year. Traders reported finding only nightmarish devastation where Hardhome had stood, a landscape of charred trees and burned bones, waters choked with swollen corpses, blood-chilling shrieks echoing from the cave mouths that pocked the great cliff that loomed above the settlement.
Six centuries had come and gone since that night, but Hardhome was still shunned. The wild had reclaimed the site, Jon had been told, but rangers claimed that the overgrown ruins were haunted by ghouls and demons and burning ghosts with an unhealthy taste for blood. "It is not the sort of refuge I'd chose either," Jon said, "but Mother Mole was heard to preach that the free folk would find salvation where once they found damnation."
. . .
He tells me there is no shelter there but the caves. The screaming caves, his men call them.
. . .
Hardhome was once the only settlement approaching a town in the lands beyond the Wall, sheltered on Storrold's Point and commanding a deepwater harbor. But six hundred years ago, it was burned and its people destroyed, though the Watch cannot say for a certainty what happened. Some say that cannibals from Skagos fell on them, others that slavers from across the narrow sea were at fault. The strangest stories, from a ship of the Watch sent to investigate, tell of hideous screams echoing down from the cliffs above Hardhome, where no living man or woman could be found.
. . .
The wild had reclaimed the site, Jon had been told, but rangers claimed that the overgrown ruins were haunted by ghouls and demons and burning ghosts with an unhealthy taste for blood.
. . .
They were wildlings from Westeros, from a place called Hardhome. An old ruined place, accursed." Old Nan had told her tales of Hardhome, back at Winterfell when she had still been Arya Stark. "After the big battle where the King-Beyond-the-Wall was killed, the wildlings ran away, and this woods witch said that if they went to Hardhome, ships would come and carry them away to someplace warm. But no ships came, except these two Lyseni pirates, Goodheart and Elephant, that had been driven north by a storm.

 

So, most or all Wildling villages are built around weirwoods--Whitetree, the village Sam and Gilly stay in, the village in Varamyr's prologue, it is unclear if the village Bran and company stayed in had a weirwood, and Craster's Keep was a metaphor for a weirwood cave.  It is likely Hardhome had a weirwood at its center.  In the Haunted Forest, 600 years ago "hell had swallowed it" and its people were "carried off."  There was an explosion there so large that it was seen from the Wall and it was like the sun was rising in the North.  Ash rained down for days and bodies were blown into the sea. 

It is now a "landscape of charred trees and burned bones" --weirwoods are burning, bone white trees, and weirwood caves are full of bones, so if one blew up the bones would be scattered everywhere.  It is mentioned that bloodsucking demons live there.  CotF are called demons, and weirwoods are called demon trees, and they drink blood.

It is unclear whether there is a crater where the town used to be, but the phrase "hell swallowed it" certainly implies a pit that is on fire.

The extensive caves are mentioned several times, as well as the screams that are coming out of the caves.  If Hardhome was built on or around a high hill with a weirwood grove on it and tunnels underneath it, then the hill exploded, what would be left was a cliff that was pockmarked with tunnels, and a burning pit, and the screams are those of the CotF left behind who are still attached to the weirwood roots.  

There is now a large cliff ate Hardhome (on Storrold's Point peninsula),

stor means "steep, high cliff" and "broken tooth" and "hoard, ammunition, store-house, magazine" and "cry to incite a bull" (weirwood is the white bull/bole--ammunition store house sounds like a cache of explosive material)

starradh means "sudden and violent motion" and "leap, start"

starr means "projection or jut, stump, tooth" (a peninsula is a projection)

starrog means "summit of a hill"

 

Hardhome is good for sending "the biggest ships afloat"

A woods witch named Mother Mole (who lived in a burrow under a hollow tree and receives visions) gathers people to Hardhome, women and children get on ships named Goodheart and Elephant (elephants have trunks, trees have trunks), and they are carried off

They are carried off by Lyseni, lios / liss in Gaelic means "garth, ring-fort, fairy-fort" in ships associated with Hearts and Trunks, and fairy-forts and rings of trees.

 

 

The wildfire under the Red Keep and the Sept of Baelor parallels this.  Highly explosive material stored in fruit-shaped jars, under red and white castle/church.  And Cersei used wildfire to burn the Tower of the Hand.  Weirwoods are stone fists / towers that are hands.

Edited by By Odin's Beard

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Mistletoe / Missile Toe

Mistletoe is the "golden bough" that Frazer's classic mythology text The Golden Bough, is named after (Lovecraft mentions the Golden Bough several times in his works)-- In the Aeneid, the Golden Bough was a piece of mistletoe that Aeneas used to gain passage to the underworld.  (In the Voyage of Bran, Bran used a silver bough to gain passage to the Otherworld)

The druids believed that the mistletoe was a plant that fell down from heaven and landed in the trees.  They believed that it was magical, and that it contained the soul of the oak tree, since in winter the leaves would fall off the oak, but the mistletoe would stay green.  In gaelic it is called sugh an daireach ("suck an oak"? and recall that sugh is part of the origin of Lovecraft's shoggoth) and uil ioc ("cure all") because they believed that it had strong medicinal powers.

Here is the entry for mistletoe from Dwelly's gaelic dictionary:

Quote

The Druids gathered the mistletoe on the 10th.  Pliny . . says "The Druids hold nothing in such sacred respect as the mistletoe, and the tree on which it grows, provided it be an oak.  They select certain woods of oak, and they do not perform any sacred rite without the leaf of that tree; so that hence it is likely they have been called Druids, explaining the name from the Greek drus, an oak . . . Whatever grows on that tree, more than its natural growth, they think has been sent from heaven, and is a proof that the tree has been chosen by God himself.  However that [species of mistletoe] is very rarely found, and when found it is sought after with great devotion, and especially at the sixth moon, which is the beginning of their months and years, and when the tree has passed its thirtieth year, because it has already abundant vigour, though not half-grown.  They call it by a word signifying in their own language, "all heal"; and having prepared sacrifices and feasts under the tree, they bring up two white bulls, whose horns are then first bound; the priest in a white robe ascends the tree, and cuts it off with a golden knife; it is received in a white sheet.  Then, and not till then, they sacrifice the victims, praying that God would render his gift prosperous to those on whom he had bestowed it.  When mistletoe is given as a potion, they are of the opinion that it can remove animal barrenness, and that it is a remedy against all poisons.

Mistletoe is a seed from heaven, it grows on god's tree, and it is associated with White Bulls, (George is using a word play on "white boles" / white trees) The ritual for gathering mistletoe involves blood sacrifice at the tree where it is found.  White bull /white bole blood sacrifice in front of a sacred tree--feeding the blood to the tree where the mistletoe is found.  Dair mean "bull" and "oak" so the white bull is a stand-in for a white tree. 

(Lovercraft's shoggoth was an partial inversion of the mistletoe myth--it fell from heaven and attached itself to oak trees, but it poisoned everything, rather than being a remedy for poison.  It sucked the life out of everything.)

Here is the entry on Mistletoe from the Old Norse dictionary:

Quote

The mistletoe or mistle-twig, the fatal twig by which Balder, the white sun-god, was slain . . . After the death of Balder the Ragnarok (the last days of the heathen mythology) set in,  Balder's death was also symbolical of the victory of darkness over light, which comes every year at midwinter.  The mistletoe in English households at Christmas time is no doubt a relic of a rite lost in the remotest heathenism, for the fight of light and darkness at midwinter was a foreshadowing of the final overthrow in Ragnarok.  The legend and the word are common to all Teutonic people of all ages.

Quick summary about the story of Baldor, he was the summer god, and was invulnerable to all harm except the mistletoe--which was deemed so harmless that he needn't be protected from it.  His brother was Hodr, the blind god, who may have been the personification of winter.  Loki discovers that mistletoe can kill Baldor, and makes an arrow or spear out of mistletoe and gets Hodr to throw it at Baldor, killing him.  At Ragnarok, Baldr going underground is when the long night begins, and the sun and moon go out, and all hell breaks loose.  He spends several months in the underworld, the world is destroyed, and is reborn in the spring. 

Frazer's Golden Bough hypothesizes that Baldor's soul was contained within the mistletoe itself. 

So, if Bran is Baldr, the summer god, who is put underground by the mistletoe (weirwood) during winter.  And his soul is contained within the mistletoe/weirwood.  Bran is lured underground by the mistletoe/weirwood, and Bran's soul is uploaded to the weirwood network, and becomes unkillable, unless the weirwood network itself is destroyed.  Bran is the Great Other and while Bran is dreaming inside the network he casts the White Walkers from his nightmares that terrorize humanity during the Long Night and destroy human civilization.  He is "reborn" in the spring.

Frazer also mentions in another chapter that primitive peoples would fire flaming arrows at the sun during an eclipse in an attempt to rekindle the suns fires.  That is exactly how I think the Long Night is ended, by a huge flaming arrow being shot at the Shadow Moon that is eclipsing the sun causing the Long Night.

The "toe" in mistletoe is a mistranslation of "twig" and Loki makes a missile out of mistletoe.  A twig that is a missile, that kills a celestial god.  The mistletoe is magic plant that fell down from heaven becomes a spear that gets launched to kill the sun god, and is responsible for bringing winter. 

 

I posted this a thread about Lord of the Rings, that Earendil was the Dawn-Star (eorendel means "dawn, light-bringer, ray of light") and he was launched off of the Earth in a magic white ship.  (And he kills a huge black dragon with his magic white ship.)

Earendil is also called Ardamírë   In Gaelic aerda = “aerial”  mear / mire = “swift, sudden, lively, active, valiant” and also means “digit, finger, toe”   So that translates to “aerial toe.” 

In Norse mythology Thor carries Aurvandill in a basket across a frozen river, Aurvandill’s big toe was hanging out of the basket and freezes, and Thor breaks it off and throws it into the sky and it becomes a star called Aurvandill’s Toe, which is also known as Earendil.  (recall that deil means "toe" and "twig" in Gaelic)  Bran was carried in a basket on Hodor's back,

A toe that was thrown into space.  A twig that was thrown into space.

Edited by By Odin's Beard

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