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The Truth Behind the Drowned God


Alabastur

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It is said the Deep Ones were a queer misshapen race of half men sired by creatures of the salt seas upon human women, that these sea creatures are the truth behind the Drowned God of the Ironborn:
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 a queer, misshapen race of half men sired by creatures of the salt seas upon human women. These Deep Ones, as he names them, are the seed from which our legends of merlings have grown, he argues, whilst their terrible fathers are the truth behind the Drowned God of the ironborn.

The World of Ice and Fire (TWOIAF) – The Reach: Oldtown

Some readers suspect the Deep Ones were behind the annihilation of the ancient mazemakers of Lorath, as local legends suggest they were destroyed by an enemy from the sea; some tales specify this enemy as merlings:

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The mazemakers left no written records, so we shall never know. … We do not known why they disappeared, though Lorathi legend suggests they were destroyed by an enemy from the sea: merlings in some versions of the tale, selkies and walrus-men in others.

TWoIaF – The Free Cities: Lorath

Coincidentally, the Deep Ones seemingly inspired the legends of merlings, much like their fathers inspired the belief of the Drowned God:

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These Deep Ones, as he names them, are the seed from which our legends of merlings have grown…

Yet who were the fathers of the Deep Ones, really? How are sea creatures the truth behind the Drowned God? In Ironborn lore, their god was not always drowned; he was only later drowned and reborn from the sea:

 
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Lord God who drowned for us,” the priest prayed, in a voice as deep as the sea, “let Emmond your servant be reborn from the sea, as you were.

Lord God who drowned for us, let Meldred your servant be born again from the sea.
A Feast For Crows (AFFC) – The Prophet
 

Which raises the question:


If sea creatures are the truth behind the Drowned God, how could they even drown?


And why would they even mate with humans in the first place? Were the Deep Ones intentional or an accident? Could their fathers have had any motives at all? Were they really just sea creatures, just animals?

Well, there is a perfect answer to all these questions, hinted at in the first three books of A Song of Ice and Fire:

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“Old Nan says the children knew the songs of the trees, that they could fly like birds and swim like fish…”

A Game of Thrones (AGoT) – Bran VII

“Supposedly the greenseers also had the power over the beasts of the wood and the birds in the trees. Even fish.

A Clash of Kings (ACoK) – Bran IV

“The greenseers were more than that. They were wargs as well, as you are, and the greatest of them could wear the skins of any beast that flies or swims …”

A Storm of Swords (ASoS) – Bran I

The fathers of the Deep Ones may have been none other than the greenseers of the children of the forest.

This would explain how the sea creatures which inspired the Drowned God were drowned and reborn from the sea in Ironborn lore.

Because this would mean they weren’t sea creatures at all but skinchanging greenseers; when greenseers and skinchangers die, they live a second life in their animals:

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“You will die a dozen deaths, boy, and every one will hurt … but when your true death comes, you will live again. The second life is simpler and sweeter, they say.”

Let me sleep and never wake, let me begin my second life. His wolves were close now.

Mance should have let me take the direwolf. There would be a second life worthy of a king.

ADWD – Prologue

Thus, if their animal were a sea creature, they would have a second life, reborn from the sea, just like the Drowned God:

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Lord God who drowned for us  let Emmond your servant be reborn from the sea, as you were.

The children being part of the Drowned God would also tie in with their gods, because some of their gods are the gods of the streams; of water, essentially:

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Slight as they were, the children were quick and graceful. Male and female hunted together, with weirwood bows and flying snares. Their gods were the gods of the forest, stream...

AGoT – Bran VII

The gods the children worshipped were the nameless ones that would one day become the gods of the First Men—the innumerable gods of the streams and forests and stones. 

TWoIaF – Ancient History: The Dawn Age

Obviously, this is said because the children go into the fish of the streams when they die; they become part of that godhood:

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The singers of the forest had no books. The singers believe they are the old gods. When singers die they become part of that godhood.

ADWD – Bran III

So why not the fish of the sea as well, which are the truth behind the Drowned God?

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creatures of the salt seas …are the truth behind the Drowned God

Furthermore, when skinchangers wear the skins of animals, they risk the terrible fate of losing themselves in their creatures forever:

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“Remember that, Bran. Remember yourself, or the wolf will consume you.

ASoS – Bran I

Some tales speak of skinchangers losing themselves in their beasts

TWoIaF – Ancient History: The Dawn Age

Thus, if they lost themselves in creatures of the sea, they would, in a sense, drown.

So could the Drowned God have actually been greenseers who stayed too long beneath the sea, so long that they drowned and remained creatures of the sea?

However, why would these greenseers of the children then mate sea creatures with humans?

Well, seeing as how it resulted in the creation of the Deep Ones, who were likely behind the annihilation of the Mazemakers, the answer could be very simple:


The children of the forest’s intention was to create monsters to defeat their enemies.


But why would the Mazemakers be enemies of the children? And were they even in the same continent at one point?

The Mazemakers of Lorath

For starters, the Mazemakers were essentially half-giants, as their bones tell us they were massively built and larger than men though not so large as giants; some have actually suggested they had been born of human men and giant women:

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The mazemakers left no written records, so we shall never know. Their bones tell us that they were massively built and larger than men, though not so large as giants. Some have suggested that mayhaps the mazemakers were born of interbreeding between human men and giant women. 

TWoIaF – The Free Cities: Lorath

This is important to know because giants and children have actually waged war against each other since time immemorial; giants were the greatest foes of the children:

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their greatest foes were the giants, as hinted at in tales told in the North, and as possibly proved by Maester Kennet in the study of a barrow near the Long Lake—a giant’s burial with obsidian arrowheads found amidst the extant ribs.

TWoIaF – Ancient History: The Dawn Age

One of the children Bran meets even tells him giants were once the bane of her people:

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The giants are almost gone as well, they who were our bane and our brothers.”

ADWD – Bran III

So they were arch-enemies, once: the children and giants. With the Mazemakers being half-giants, it’s only logical to infer that the children extended their antagonism toward the Mazemakers.

However, before delving deeper into their relationship, we must ask:


Is there any evidence the Mazemakers were even in Westeros?


Well, they may have actually left a trail of clues in Essos that ultimately do lead to Westeros.

The Old Ones of Leng

The mazemakers mostly built their mazes on the Lorathi isles, with some mazes leading underground, descending five hundred feet:

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the mazemakers’ constructions are scattered across the isles—and one, badly overgrown and sunk deep into the earth, has been found on Essos proper, on the peninsula south of Lorath. Lorassyon, the second largest of the Lorath isles, is home to a vast maze that fills more than threequarters of the surface area of the island and includes four levels beneath the ground, with some passages descending five hundred feet.

TWoIaF – The Free Cities: Lorath

 

However, one maze, badly overgrown and sunk deep into the earth, has actually been found on mainland Essos, so we at least know they were capable of leaving their isles:

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… and one, badly overgrown and sunk deep into the earth, has been found on Essos proper, on the peninsula south of Lorath.

And sure enough, faraway on another isle off the coast of southern Essos lies the isle of Leng, home to abandoned cities, remnant of some vanished people:

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There are queer ruins in the depths of the island’s jungle: massive buildings, long fallen, and so overgrown that rubble remains above the surface…but underground, we are told, endless labyrinths of tunnels lead to vast chambers, and carved steps descend hundreds of feet into the earth. No man can say who might have built these cities, or when. They remain perhaps the only remnant of some vanished people.

TWoIaF – The Bones and Beyond: Leng

 

Much like the vanished mazemakers:

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the mazemakers, a mysterious people who left remnants of their vanished civilization upon Lorath in the Shivering Sea.

TWoIaF – The Reach: Oldtown

In ancient days, the isles were home to the mysterious race of men known as the mazemakers, who vanished long before the dawn of true history, leaving no trace of themselves save for their bones and the mazes they built.

TWoIaF – The Free Cities: Lorath

 

The people who left behind this remnant were likely the Old Ones of that same isle, who lived deep below the overgrown subterranean cities:

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There are queer ruins in the depths of the island’s jungle: massive buildings, long fallen, and so overgrown that rubble remains above the surface… It was mariners from the Golden Empire who opened Leng to trade, yet even then the island remained a perilous place for outsiders, for the Empress of Leng was known to have congress with the Old Ones, gods who lived deep below the ruined subterranean cities..

TWoIaF – The Bones and Beyond: Leng

 

Much like the overgrown mazes sunk deep into the earth of the mazemakers:

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…the mazemakers‘ constructions are scattered across the isles—and one, badly overgrown and sunk deep into the earth

These Old Ones built massive buildings and labyrinths of tunnels, and carved steps that descend hundreds of feet into the earth:

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There are queer ruins in the depths of the island’s jungle: massive buildings, long fallen, and so overgrown that rubble remains above the surface…but underground, we are told, endless labyrinths of tunnels lead to vast chambers, and carved steps descend hundreds of feet into the earth. 

Once again, much like the mazemakers’ very own labyrinths that include passages descending five hundred feet:

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Lorassyon, the second largest of the Lorath isles, is home to a vast maze that fills more than threequarters of the surface area of the island and includes four levels beneath the ground, with some passages descending five hundred feet.

But for everything to fall into place, we only need to look at size of the natives of Leng, logically the descendants of the Old Ones:

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The native Lengii are perhaps the tallest of all the known races of mankind, with many men amongst them reaching seven feet in height, and some as tall as eight. 

TWoIaF – The Bones and Beyond: Leng

 

It seems the natives have some giant’s blood in them, just like the Mazemakers:

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The mazemakers left no written records, so we shall never know. Their bones tell us that they were massively built and larger than men, though not so large as giants. Some have suggested that mayhaps the mazemakers were born of interbreeding between human men and giant women. 

I believe the Mazemakers were the Old Ones of Leng.

All this has been important to establish because Leng is an isle of the Jade Sea, and the Jade Sea is one of two locations where dragons originated, according to book one:

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She had heard that the first dragons had come from the east, from the Shadow Lands beyond Asshai and the islands of the Jade Sea.

AGoT – Daenerys III

 

But what corroborates this rumor is these specific islands in the Jade Sea, introduced many years after book one in TWoIaF:

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Other Islands of Note in the Jade Sea, as Recorded by Corlys Velaryon in His Letters:

Marahai, the paradise isle, a verdant crescent attended by twin fire islands, where burning mountains belch plumes of molten stone day and night.

TWoIaF – The Bones and Beyond: Leng

 

Given all the hints in the books that dragons preferred hot areas of volcanic activity, such as dragons thriving best on Dragonstone where the volcano Dragonmont is located...

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 “And ours are larger and stronger, but for Vhagar. Dragons thrive best here on Dragonstone.

The Princess and the Queen

 

… that dragons preferred making their lairs in its smoky caverns...

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Moreover, six other dragons made their lairs in the smoky caverns of the Dragonmont above the castle.

The Princess and the Queen

 

… and that they liked keeping their bulk of dragon eggs beneath it...

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A wealth of dragon’s eggs could be found beneath the Dragonmont, and several young hatchlings as well.

The Rogue Prince

 

… It is likely true that dragons also came from the Jade Sea, specifically from the twin fire islands, near the Old Ones, or Mazemakers, who could have tamed them, much like someone else tamed the dragons in the Shadow.

But now we can go to Westeros.

The Base of the Hightower

In Westeros, on yet again another isle, is yet again another labyrinth.

This labyrinth is a black stone fortress that makes up the base of the Hightower at Oldtown; it predates the upper levels of the tower by thousands of years:

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Even more enigmatic to scholars and historians is the great square fortress of black stone that dominates that isle. For most of recorded history, this monumental edifice has served as the foundation and lowest level of the Hightower, yet we know for a certainty that it predates the upper levels of the tower by thousands of years.

Who built it? When? Why? Most maesters accept the common wisdom that declares it to be of Valyrian construction, for its massive walls and labyrinthine interiors are all of solid rock

TWoIaF – The Reach: Oldtown

 

Its walls are described as massive:

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Most maesters accept the common wisdom that declares it to be of Valyrian construction, for its massive walls and labyrinthine interiors are all of solid rock…

Likely because these massive walls were originally built to accommodate massive people:

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The mazemakers left no written records, so we shall never know. Their bones tell us that they were massively built ...

So we have labyrinthine interiors and massive walls, which evoke the ruins of Leng and their massive buildings and endless labyrinths:

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massive buildings, long fallen, and so overgrown that rubble remains above the surface…but underground, we are told, endless labyrinths

Leng, Essos

…its massive walls and labyrinthine interiors…

Oldtown, Westeros

 

More importantly, the passages within the fortress strike many as being tunnels rather than halls:

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The fused black stone of which it is made suggests Valyria, but the plain, unadorned style of architecture does not… Within, the narrow, twisting, windowless passages strike many as being tunnels rather than halls; it is very easy to get lost amongst their turnings.

TWoIaF – The Reach: Oldtown

 

Once again, recall and compare to the endless labyrinths of tunnels found on Leng:

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… but underground, we are told, endless labyrinths of tunnels lead to vast chambers…

Leng, Essos

Within, the narrow, twisting, windowless passages strike many as being tunnels rather than halls..

Oldtown, Westeros

 

The passages strike many as being tunnels because that is exactly what they were meant to evoke, which also explains why their architecture is plain and unadorned:

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The fused black stone of which it is made suggests Valyria, but the plain, unadorned style of architecture does not…

The fortress having been fused by dragonflame has led some to believe it of Valyrian origin, yet many characteristics obviously point to someone else, the strongest possibility being the Mazemakers:

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The fused black stone of which it is made suggests Valyria, but the plain, unadorned style of architecture does not, for the dragonlords loved little more than twisting stone into strange, fanciful, and ornate shapes. 

I am well aware of the other theories regarding this fortress, yet only this one can explain why their halls are massive and seem like tunnels, with architecture that is plain and unadorned. And few can explain why a civilization other than the mazemakers would have built this maze.

Even one Archmaester suggests it was the work of the mazemakers; another maester admits his notion is intriguing but raises more questions than it answers:

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The labyrinthine nature of its interior architecture has led Archmaester Quillion to suggest that the fortress might have been the work of the mazemakers, a mysterious people who left remnants of their vanished civilization upon Lorath in the Shivering Sea. The notion is intriguing but raises more questions than it answers.

TWoIaF – The Reach: Oldtown

 

One question being, where would the Mazemakers have gotten dragons? My answer being the Jade Sea, on the twin fire islands.

However, now that we have archaeological evidence of the half-giant Mazemakers, or Old Ones, having been in Westeros, we can delve into a legend that not only corroborates this, but also suggests that the half-giants fought the Deep Ones.

Clarence Crabb and the Squishers

Regard the legend of Ser Clarence Crabb of Crackclaw Point, recounted to Brienne by Nimble Dick in AFFC:

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Ser Clarence Crabb He was eight foot tall, and so strong he could uproot pine trees with one hand and chuck them half a mile. No horse could bear his weight, so he rode an aurochs.”

AFFC – Brienne III

 

Seemed like a half-giant, did he not? If legend is not enough, Brienne even has quite the vivid nightmare of Ser Clarence, where she sees him as huge and fierce, mounted on an aurochs shaggier than he was:

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Then she was back at the Whispers, standing amongst the ruins and facing Clarence Crabb. He was huge and fierce, mounted on an aurochs shaggier than he was…

AFFC – Brienne VIII

 

The giants Jon saw north of the Wall are also described as “shaggy”, but quite a deal more considering they are full giants:

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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. … They’re not wearing skins, Jon realized. That’s hair. Shaggy pelts covered their bodies, thick below the waist, sparser above. 

ASoS – Jon II

 

So it makes sense that the half-giant Clarence Crabb was also shaggy to some degree.

Now let us hear of the enemies he fought:

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Nimble Dick talked about the time Ser Clarence Crabb had fought the squisher king.

AFFC – Brienne IV

 

Who was the squisher king and who were the squishers? 

Nimble Dick tells us:

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They look like men till you get close, but their heads is too big, and they got scales where a proper man’s got hair. Fish-belly white they are, with webs between their fingers. They’re always damp and fishy-smelling, but behind these blubbery lips they got rows of green teeth sharp as needles. … They come by night and steal bad little children, padding along on them webbed feet with a little squish-squish sound. The girls they keep to breed with…”

AFFC – Brienne IV

 

The squishers seem like a race of half men sired by creatures of the salt seas; the Deep Ones. Their being in Westeros is actually further speculated in The World of and Fire, as visitors from across the Sunset Sea:

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The beasts of the woods and the giants were eventually joined by other, greater dangers, however. A possibility arises for a third race to have inhabited the Seven Kingdoms in the Dawn Age … Among the ironborn, it is said that the first of the First Men to come to the Iron Isles found the famous Seastone Chair on Old Wyk, but that the isles were uninhabited. If true, the nature and origins of the chair’s makers are a mystery. Maester Kirth in his collection of ironborn legends, Songs the Drowned Men Sing, has suggested that the chair was left by visitors from across the Sunset Sea.

TWoIaF – Ancient History: The Dawn Age

 

Another Maester speculates these visitors were the Deep Ones:

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An even more fanciful possibility was put forth a century ago by Maester Theron. Born a bastard on the Iron Islands, Theron noted a certain likeness between the black stone of the ancient fortress and that of the Seastone Chair, the high seat of House Greyjoy of Pyke, whose origins are similarly ancient and mysterious. Theron’s rather inchoate manuscript Strange Stone postulates that both fortress and seat might be the work of a queer, misshapen race of half men sired by creatures of the salt seas upon human women. These Deep Ones

So the Deep Ones, or squishers, may have battled the half-giant Mazemakers, or Old Ones, on Westeros long ago.

This would explain why the isle where the Mazemakers built their fortress is called Battle Isle:

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Yet mysteries remain. The stony island where the Hightower stands is known as Battle Isle even in our oldest records, but why? What battle was fought there? When? Between which lords, which kings, which races?

TWoIaF – The Reach: Oldtown

 

This would also explain why a Maester wrongly concludes the Deeps Ones built the fortress on Battle Isle — because he must have evidence they were there; it’s just that his conclusion is wrong:

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Theron’s rather inchoate manuscript Strange Stone postulates that both fortress and seat might be the work of a queer, misshapen race of half men sired by creatures of the salt seas upon human women. These Deep Ones

Why the Children Fought the Giants

With all this established, we can now delve deeper into why the children may have sought to defeat the Mazemakers, along with why they built their mazes.

First we must recognize that both children and giants were fond of living in caves:

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The giants had no kings and no lords, made no homes save in caverns or beneath tall trees, and they worked neither metal nor fields.

TWoIaF – Ancient History: The Dawn Age

“They were a people dark and beautiful, small of stature, no taller than children even when grown to manhood. They lived in the depths of the wood, in caves and crannogs and secret tree towns.”

AGoT – Bran VII

 

They even inhabited the same caverns at times, such as those beneath Casterly Rock:

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The Rock has been a habitation for men for thousands of years. Before the coming of the First Men it seems likely that the children of the forest and giants made their homes in the great sea-carved caverns at its base.

TWoIaF – The Westerlands: Casterly Rock

 

However, this has led to conflict, according to one tale:

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The wildling brothers Gendel and Gorne were called upon to mediate a dispute between a clan of children and a family of giants over the possession of a cavern  it was a part of a greater chain of caverns that eventually passed beneath the Wall.

TWoIaF – Ancient History: The Dawn Age

 

Great chains of underground caverns are also found in Essos:

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 caverns honeycomb the endless hills. One cavern system, some hundred leagues northwest of Norvos, is so vast and deep that legend claims it is the entrance to the underworld.

TWoIaF – The Free Cities: Norvos

 

However, children and giants were also found in Essos:

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… in the forests to the north, along the shores of the Shivering Sea, were the domains of the woods walkers, a diminutive folk whom many maesters believe to have been kin to the children of the forest

TWoIaF – Beyond the Free Cities: The Grasslands

Even the snowcapped northernmost peaks (known as Krazaaj Zasqa or White Mountains in the Dothraki tongue), where the cold winds come howling off the Shivering Sea winter and summer, were once home to the Jhogwin, the stone giants, massive creatures said to have been twice as large as the giants of Westeros.

TWoIaF – The Bones and Beyond

 

So I believe this tale of a dispute between children and giants over a cavern serves as a microcosm, a smaller-scale model of a grander conflict that could have once spanned across both continents – children and giants fighting for supremacy over what the Norvoshi called the underworld, but we may call Subterranea.

George R.R. Martin’s Inspiration

I dub it Subterranea in reference to a comic book in which there dwelt various ancient races that warred beneath the earth — their dwelling was called Subterranea — and that comic book was Stan Lee’s Fantastic Four, one of George R.R. Martin’s favorite comics; he actually said:

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The first words of mine that were ever published were in Marvel Comics’ Fantastic Four letters column.

Who inspired the Game of Thrones creator? – BBC

 

 

I believe he drew direct inspiration from this comic, seeing as how he also said in the same interview:

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Maybe Stan Lee is the greatest literary influence on me, even more than Shakespeare or Tolkien.

Subterranea was introduced in the first issue of Fantastic Four, so George did read of it; here is its description from Wikipedia:

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Subterranea is a network of massive caves, passages, and tunnels, some large enough to hold cities, that are inhabited by the various races of Subterraneans. Subterranea contains water in underground rivers, pools, and lakes. … it consisted of a seemingly planet-wide network of caverns lying miles beneath Earth’s surface.

We can compare this with what we discover in the cave of the children, in which there is an underground river that leads down to a sunless sea, but also passages that go even deeper, bottomless pits and sudden shafts, forgotten ways that lead to the very center of the earth:

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The river you hear is swift and black, and flows down and down to a sunless sea. And there are passages that go even deeper, bottomless pits and sudden shafts, forgotten ways that lead to the very center of the earth.”

ADWD – Bran III

 

In that first issue of Fantastic Four, the villain Mole Man actually discovered a cavern with a passage that led to the center of the earth, although this was later retconned.

Now, a sunless sea is mentioned regarding the cave of children. And curiously enough, caves and sunless seas are also mentioned together in Essos, at the mountain range called the Bones:

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Deep snows crown the northern Bones… In the long leagues between, thundering rivers roar through deep canyons, and small caves open onto vast caverns and sunless seas.

TWoIaF – The Bones and Beyond

 

Even more curious is that those same mountains were once home to the giants of Essos, who are now gone and only leave behind their bones, just like the Mazemakers:

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Even the snowcapped northernmost peaks … were once home to the Jhogwin, the stone giants, massive creatures said to have been twice as large as the giants of Westeros. Alas, the last of the Jhogwin disappeared a thousand years ago; only their massive bones remain to mark where they once roamed.

TWoIaF – The Bones and Beyond

 

Speaking of bones, however; they may actually serve as evidence of the Subterranean Wars between the children and the giants; the cave of the children is actually home to the bones of thousands dead, and extended far below the hollow hill, with skulls of giants and children:

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The caves were timeless, vast, silent. They were home to more than three score living singers and the bones of thousands dead, and extended far below the hollow hill.

ADWD – Bran III

“Bones,” said Bran. “It’s bones.” The floor of the passage was littered with the bones of birds and beasts. But there were other bones as well, big ones that must have come from giants and small ones that could have been from children. On either side of them, in niches carved from the stone, skulls looked down on them. Bran saw a bear skull and a wolf skull, half a dozen human skulls and near as many giants. All the rest were small, queerly formed. Children of the forest.

ADWD – Bran II

 

Most importantly, the bones of giants are also found in those caverns that the Norvoshi say lead to the underworld, the Subterranea of A Song of Ice and Fire:

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 caverns honeycomb the endless hills. In some can be found the bones of giants … One cavern system … is so vast and deep that legend claims it is the entrance to the underworld…

TWoIaF – The Free Cities: Norvos

 

Why the Mazemakers Built Mazes

The most important part about all these underground cave systems, however, is that all throughout the novels and TWoIaF, they are consistently described like mazes.

That same cavern the wilding brothers swindled from the children and giants led to an underground described as a labyrinth of twisting subterranean caverns:

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The brothers Gendel and Gorne were joint kings three thousand years ago. Leading their host down beneath the earth into a labyrinth of twisting subterranean caverns, they passed beneath the Wall unseen to attack the North.

TWoIaF – The Wall and Beyond: The Wildlings

 

It was so mazelike that one brother and his people lost their way, never to be seen again:

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Only Gendel did not know the caves as Gorne had, and took a wrong turn. … Deeper he went, and deeper, and when he tried t’ turn back the ways that seemed familiar ended in stone rather than sky. Soon his torches began t’ fail, one by one, till finally there was naught but dark. Gendel’s folk were never seen again

ASoS – Jon III

 

Even the caves of the Westerlands are referred to as “labyrinthine caves”:

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The Westerlands are a place of rugged hills and rolling plains … where half-hidden doors in the sides of wooded hills open onto labyrinthine caves that wend their way through darkness to reveal unimaginable wonders and vast treasures deep beneath the earth.

TWoIaF – The Westerlands

 

However, all this might then explain why the Mazemakers built their mazes:

  • First of all, we know the Mazemakers were giants, to some degree;
  • Second, we know that giants loved living in underground caverns, their natural habitats;
  • Third, we know these underground caverns are natural mazes;

Therefore, the Mazemakers’ constructions may have just been built in homage to their natural habitats as giants — they weren’t necessarily building mazes in actuality; they were simply building their homes in the likeness of the mazelike underground.

In fact, recall that on both Lorath and Leng their structures lead underground:

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… includes four levels beneath the ground, with some passages descending five hundred feet.

Lorath

underground, we are told, endless labyrinths of tunnels lead to vast chambers, and carved steps descend hundreds of feet into the earth.

Leng

 

It seems the Mazemakers were homesick.

Why the Children Needed the Deep Ones

So perhaps in this underground conflict, the childrens’ feud with the giants extended to the half-giant Mazemakers. Perhaps in their Subterranean Wars, the children were being overpowered by these new giants.

This is a conflict the children would definitely lose alone. The Mazemakers were capable of building massive, complex structures, and one of their constructions – the base of the Hightower – was evidently made using dragons, the ultimate weapons.

To get an idea of how far advanced they were before everyone else, remember that the base of the Hightower predates the upper levels by thousands of years. In fact, even the first human-built levels were only wood after the Mazemakers vanished — that is how far advanced they were.

These colossi were pitted against the small and scant children, whose magics even struggled against the primitive First Men. And I’ve not even begun speculating on the types of weapons the Mazemakers may have possessed besides dragons.

As said before, this conflict the children would certainly lose alone. This would have been a war that, if lost, could have brought about their extinction. Just like with the First Men, it would have been a war for survival, because although the Mazemakers were half-giant, they were also half-men.

The Meaning of A Song of Ice and Fire

The children actually call themselves the singers:

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… we are no squirrels, no children. Our name in the True Tongue means those who sing the song of earth.

ADWD – Bran II

The children of the forest, Old Nan would have called the singers, but those who sing the song of earth was their own name for themselves

ADWD – Bran III

 

And after a conversation with one of them about their extinction, Bran begins to compare the singers with men:

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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.

ADWD – Bran III

 

So faced with this threat of half-men, half-giants, what could the singers have done? 

Well, I believe they stayed true to their name — the singers — and sang the Song of Water (the Deep Ones) to defeat the Mazemakers.

Because their magic is called singing, such as when they used their powers to part Westeros from Essos using the Hammer of the Waters with a song they sang:

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 the singing of greenseers that parted Westeros from Essos… Even if we accept that the old gods broke the Arm of Dorne with the Hammer of the Waters, as the legends claim, the greenseers sang their song too late.

TWoIaF – Dorne: The Breaking

 

Thus, if the singers then used magic to create special beings, these beings could then be called their song.

And in this series, the word “song” has multiple meanings, as George once spoke on the title of A Song of Ice and Fire:

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I like titles that work on several different levels where the title seems to have an obvious meaning but, if you think about it, also a secondary meaning, perhaps even a tertiary. That’s what I’m striving for here.

Interview with the Dragon

 

 

Having said all this, I must then bring up the sacred oath of House Reed:

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“I swear it by earth and water,

I swear it by bronze and iron,

We swear it by ice and fire.

ACoK – Bran III

 

I believe the Reeds’ oath is referencing the greatest clashes in history:

  • Earth represents the Mazemakers, who lived deep in the earth; Water represents the Deep Ones, who dwelt underwater.
  • Bronze represents the First Men, who wielded bronze against the Andals who wielded iron.
  • Ice represents the Others against the Valyrians who represent fire — the last Valyrians, Jon and Dany; the conflict that will likely happen in the future during this series.

Yet why would the Reeds’ oath reference all these conflicts?

First of all, the Reeds are crannogmen, and the crannogmen grew close to the singers, even possibly intermarried:

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“The histories say the crannogmen grew close to the children of the forest...”

ACoK – Theon IV

…some say they are small in stature because they intermarried with the children of the forest

TWoIaF – The North: The Crannogmen of the Neck

 

The crannogmen remember what their trees remember, and their trees remember the secrets of the old gods:

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What do the trees remember?

The secrets of the old gods … We live closer to the green in our bogs and crannogs, and we remember.

ADWD – Bran III

 

Not only their secrets, but also everything they knew about this world:

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“…the trees remembered. All their songs and spells, their histories and prayers, everything they knew about this world.

ADWD – Bran III

 

Furthermore, considering that the singers essentially become part of the earth when they die…

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 “Where are the rest of you?” Bran asked Leaf, once.

Gone down into the earth,” she answered. “Into the stones, into the trees.

When they died, they went into the wood, into leaf and limb and root…”

ADWD – Bran III

 

… and they likely partake in blood sacrifice…

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… calling on their old gods with song and prayer and grisly sacrifice (a thousand captive men were fed to the weirwood, one version of the tale goes, whilst another claims the children used the blood of their own young).

TWoIaF – Dorne: The Breaking

 

… The greatest conflicts on earth may well be the greatest blessings to the singers because the earth is fed the blood of the fallen.

This would explain why the crannogmen honor all these conflicts.

And if George were to write a series on the Mazemakers-Deep Ones conflict, there’s a chance it could be called A Song of Earth & Water, much like Ice and Fire.

Asshai

However, this theory of an ancient conflict wouldn’t be complete without the ancient Asshai and the Five Forts. 

We shall begin with Asshai, the port city made of greasy black stone:

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Travelers tell us that the city is built entirely of black stone: halls, hovels, temples, palaces, streets, walls, bazaars, all. Some say as well that the stone of Asshai has a greasy, unpleasant feel to it…

TWoIaF – The Bones and Beyond: Asshai-by-the-Shadow

 

Being greasy black stone, it brings to mind the oily black Seastone Chair attributed to the Deep Ones on the Iron Islands:

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Lord Balon occupied the Seastone Chair, carved in the shape of a great kraken from an immense block of oily black stone.

ACoK – Theon II

the Seastone Chair. The throne of the Greyjoys, carved into the shape of a kraken from an oily black stone...

TWoIaF – The Iron Islands

 seat might be the work of a queer, misshapen race of half men sired by creatures of the salt seas upon human women. These Deep Ones

 

Which also brings to mind the greasy black Toad Stone on Toad Isle, where the people are believed to be descended from those who carved the Toad Stone, for there is an unpleasant fishlike aspect to their faces:

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On the Isle of Toads can be found an ancient idol, a greasy black stone crudely carved into the semblance of a gigantic toad of malignant aspect, some forty feet high. The people of this isle are believed by some to be descended from those who carved the Toad Stone, for there is an unpleasant fishlike aspect to their faces, and many have webbed hands and feet. If so, they are the sole surviving remnant of this forgotten race.

TWoIaF – Beyond the Free Cities: The Basilisk Isles

 

Considering the people of Toad Isle and the motif of the stones — one in the shape of a kraken, another in the likeness of a toad — it seems obvious George wants us associating these greasy/oily black stones with a civilization of amphibian humanoids: the Deep Ones.

Furthermore, both the Toad Stone and Seastone Chair are noted to be “carved”, which is in stark contrast to the fortress on Battle Isle having “no chisel marks of any kind”:

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… its massive walls and labyrinthine interiors are all of solid rock, with no hint of joins or mortar, no chisel marks of any kind…

This means the oily/greasy black stones did not require dragons to make via melting and fusing stone, which means there is a difference between them and the fused black stones, and thus a difference between their creators.

The oily/greasy black stones are consistently associated with fishy people, so Asshai should be no exception.

Being situated so close to the ocean, along with having a river running through it, the city seems all too perfect for the Deep Ones:

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Asshai is a large city, sprawling out for leagues on both banks of the black river Ash.

TWoIaF – The Bones and Beyond: Asshai-by-the-Shadow

 

However, Asshai is a profoundly large city:

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Asshai is a large city, sprawling out for leagues on both banks of the black river Ash. Behind its enormous land walls is ground enough for Volantis, Qarth, and King’s Landing to stand side by side and still have room for Oldtown.

So it must have been built for a large population.

Yet how could the Deep Ones have once populated this city? How could their fathers have spawned so many of them, stolen away so many human women?

Well, we can begin to answer this with another question:


If the fathers of the Deep Ones were only sea-dwelling creatures, how would they even acquire human women in the first place?


Fortunately, the children may yet again provide the only answer; because why would sea creatures bother hunting humans when they could actually be brought to them on a massive scale?

The Hammer of the Waters

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The old songs say that the greenseers used dark magics to make the seas rise and sweep away the land, shattering the Arm…

AGoT – Bran VII

And then the seas came rushing in, and the Arm of Dorne was broken and shattered by the force of the water, until only a few bare rocky islands remained above the waves.

TWoIaF – Dorne: The Breaking

Legend said the children of the forest had once called down the hammer of the waters to break the lands of Westeros in two.

ADWD – Reek II

 

Using the Hammer of the Waters, the children could drown whole lands, essentially giving men and women to the sea and its creatures.

Would humans have really drowned with the land, however? Was the Hammer of the Waters a cataclysm which could strike so quickly?

Well, water magic has been used throughout history by people of the Rhoynar to specifically drown men:

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Art and music flourished in the cities of the Rhoyne, and it is said their people had their own magic—a water magic very different from the sorceries of Valyria…

…their cities were protected by “watery walls” that would rise to drown any foe.

Rhoynish water wizards called up the power of the river and flooded Volon Therys.

TWoIaF – Ancient History: Ten Thousand Ships

 

And human magic no doubt pales in comparison to the magic of the children.

So perhaps human women were served wholesale to creatures of the sea to birth the Deep Ones — I am not saying this was the actual purpose of the Hammer of the Waters; I am merely saying it would be strategically sound. We can add up all the lands that have sunk into the sea, all the humans submerged with them, and the creatures of the seas may be granted enough women to breed enough Deep Ones to found a city as large as Asshai.

Yet all of these lands were not sunk so long ago that they coincide with the ancient birth of the Deep Ones.

All except one:

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Still farther east lie the so-called Thousand Islands … the last remnants of a drowned kingdom whose towns and towers were submerged beneath the rising seas many thousands of years ago.

TWoIaF – Beyond the Free Cities: East of Ib

 

The people of these islands are queer, hairless like the squishers, but they fear the sea:

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… a queer folk, inimical to strangers, a hairless people with green-tinged skin … They speak no known tongue and are said to sacrifice sailors to their squamous, fishheaded gods…Though surrounded by water on all sides, these islanders fear the sea so much that they will not set foot in the water even under threat of death.

TWoIaF – Beyond the Free Cities: East of Ib

 

They likely fear the water because their ancestors were victims of the Hammer of the Waters and creatures of the salt seas, which would also explain why they make sacrifices to squamous, fishheaded gods. 

In fact, directly south of the Thousands Islands could have once been the children, in the forests of Mossovy.

The forests of Mossovy have shapechangers and demon hunters:

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Beyond N’ghai are the forests of Mossovy, a cold dark land of shapechangers and demon hunters.

TWoIaF – Beyond the Free Cities: East of Ib

 

Jojen Reed has suggested shapechanger is simply another name for skinchanger — what the children essentially are:

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“Warg. Shapechanger. Beastling. That is what they will call you, if they should ever hear of your wolf dreams.”

ACoK – Bran V

 

Furthermore, the children have also been hunted and seen as demons, by the Andals, at least, whose knights coincidentally called themselves demonhunters:

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The Andals burnt out the weirwood groves, hacked down the faces, slaughtered the children where they found them…”

AGoT – Bran VII

In their zeal for the Seven, the conquerors looked upon the old gods of the First Men and the children of the forest as little more than demons

TWoIaF – The Riverlands

“The Warrior’s Sons were an order of knights who gave up their lands and gold and swore their swords to His High Holiness. They were the Swords. Holy men, ascetics, fanatics, sorcerers, dragonslayers, demonhunters . . . “

AFFC – Cersei VI

 

And all throughout Westeros south of the Wall, everyone hunts skinchangers.

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“The free folk fear skinchangers, but they honor us as well. South of the Wall, the kneelers hunt us down and butcher us like pigs.”

ADWD – Prologue

 

Therefore, it shouldn’t be too far-fetched that these skinchanging demons being hunted in Mossovy are the CotF, especially since, in another forest in Essos, called the Kingdoms of the Ifequevron, there lived a small, shy forest folk, described as a gentle race who kept to themselves and their carved trees:

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a densely wooded region that had formerly been the home of a small, shy forest folk. Some say that the Ibbenese extinguished this gentle race… The fabled Sea Snake, Corlys Velaryon… was the first Westerosi to visit these woods. After his return from the Thousand Islands, he wrote of carved trees… The Dothraki still call the great forest along the northern coast the Kingdom of the Ifequevron, the name by which they knew the vanished forest-dwellers.

TWoIaF – Beyond the Free Cities: Ib

 

The maesters generally agree that these “wood walkers” were kin to the CotF:

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…in the forests to the north, along the shores of the Shivering Sea, were the domains of the woods walkers, a diminutive folk whom many maesters believe to have been kin to the children of the forest

TWoIaF – Beyond the Free Cities: The Grasslands

 

Even more interesting is the fact that the Dothraki shun the forests of the wood walkers, either out of reverence or fear for their powers, much like they fear the sea:

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The horselords had hitherto shunned the forests of the northern coasts; some say this was because of their reverence for the vanished wood walkers, others because they feared their powers.

TWoIaF – Beyond the Free Cities: Ib

 

So could it be that the Dothraki fear the sea because their ancestors once witnessed the Hammer of the Waters from the wood walkers?

Yet it is the Thousand Islands that might have felt that wrath.

And here is something peculiar about the fish of the Thousand Islands:

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Even the fish taken from these eastern seas are oddly misshapen, with a bitter, unpleasant taste.

TWoIaF – Beyond the Free Cities: East of Ib

 

We can compare this to the fish in the river coursing through Asshai, which are:

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…such fish as swim in the river are blind and twisted, so deformed and hideous to look upon that only fools and shadowbinders will eat of their flesh.

TWoIaF – The Bones and Beyond: Asshai-by-the-Shadow

 

In both locations we have similarly described fish, oddly misshapen, and then twisted and deformed — both equally hideous and even distasteful. 

Yet we can even further compare them with the Deep Ones, who are queer like the people of the Thousand Islands, and misshapen like the fish in its eastern seas:

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 a queer, misshapen race of half men sired by creatures of the salt seas upon human women. These Deep Ones 

…the people of these islands, though few in number, are a queer folk…

Even the fish taken from these eastern seas are oddly misshapen

 

But now that some connections have been made putting forth Asshai and the Thousand Islands as possible sites of the Deep Ones, what about someplace they didn’t call home? 

Take a look at this map of eastern Essos; look at the Thousand Islands, then Asshai, and see what lies so perfectly between them.

Most readers theorize the Five Forts were built against the Others; I theorize something else entirely: they were built against a threat found not only to the north but the south as well: the Deep Ones.

The Five Forts

One fact immediately supporting my position is the forts themselves: the very nature of their composition fosters defense from all directions, unlike defenses of the Wall:

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The ancient stronghold of the black brothers was no Winterfell, no true castle at all. Lacking walls, it could not be defended, not from the south, or east, or west; but it was only the north that concerned the Night’s Watch, and to the north loomed the Wall.

AGoT – Jon III

 

However, if we want to examine threats found only north of the Five Forts, we need only look to the Land of the Shrykes.

The Shrykes are reportedly half-men with greenscaled skin:

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Whispers reach us of the Grey Waste and its cannibal sands, and of the Shrykes who live there, half-human creatures with greenscaled skin and venomous bites.

TWoIaF – The Bones and Beyond: Yi Ti

 

Who we can compare with the half human Deep Ones, the squishers with scales, and the green-tinged people of the Thousand Islands:

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…the people of these islands… a hairless people with green-tinged skin

“They look like men till you get close, but their heads is too big, and they got scales where a proper man’s got hair.”

…misshapen race of half men sired by creatures of the salt seas upon human women. These Deep Ones

 

The Shrykes are also referred to as lizard men:

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… half-human creatures with greenscaled skin and venomous bites. Are these truly lizard-men, or (more likely) men clad in the skins of lizards?

And the only other mention of lizard men has been near Yeen, another city of oily black stone we can possibly link to the Deep Ones:

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Some say that there were other races here once—forgotten peoples destroyed, devoured, or driven out by the Brindled Men. Tales of lizard men, lost cities, and eyeless cave-dwellers are commonplace. No proof exists for any of these.

Maesters and other scholars alike have puzzled over the greatest of the engimas of Sothoryos, the ancient city of Yeen. A ruin older than time, built of oily black stone

TWoIaF – Beyond the Free Cities: Sothoryos

 

Returning to the Five Forts, however…

Another discrepancy between them and the Wall that supports my position is the timing of their construction. According to the people of Yi Ti, the forts were constructed before the Long Night, not in its aftermath as is the case with the Wall; they were constructed amidst the rule of the Pearl Emperor whose reign supposedly spanned a thousand years:

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Dominion over mankind then passed to his eldest son, who was known as the Pearl Emperor and ruled for a thousand years.

The Five Forts are very old, older than the Golden Empire itself; some claim they were raised by the Pearl Emperor during the morning of the Great Empire to keep the Lion of Night and his demons from the realms of men..

TWoIaF – The Bones and Beyond: Yi Ti

 

The Long Night happened several reigns later by the time of the Bloodstone Emperor:

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When the daughter of the Opal Emperor succeeded him as the Amethyst Empress, her envious younger brother cast her down and slew her, proclaiming himself the Bloodstone Emperor and beginning a reign of terror.  In the annals of the Further East, it was the Blood Betrayal, as his usurpation is named, that ushered in the age of darkness called the Long Night.

TWoIaF – The Bones and Beyond: Yi Ti

 

Regardless of when they were built, it’s still puzzling why forts were constructed instead of one long continuous barrier like the Wall.

Because the undead wights of the Others could have just sauntered through the miles between each fort to reach easier targets, namely the greater bulk of humanity.

Of course, for most armies these forts would be treacherous to bypass; the defenders could just sally forth to strike from both sides and cut off their retreat, or cut off their supply lines and leave them stranded in a war of attrition.

Yet the wights are not most armies; they do not tire or hunger, and their masters can generate more soldiers wherever there is death; and all this would be during winter. However, if the defenders in the Five Forts had to leave the forts in order to defend the south, then the forts held no advantage over the Others. 

So were the Others even in Essos in the first place?

Were the Others or White Walkers in Essos?

The Long Night happened everywhere, which doesn’t mean the Others did as well. Legends from Yi Ti only tell of demons, not demons of ice or snow or cold, just demons:

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The Five Forts … some claim they were raised … to keep the Lion of Night and his demons from the realms of men.

And the variously named Azor Ahai is only mentioned fighting darkness:

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 known variously as Hyrkoon the Hero, Azor Ahai, Yin Tar, Neferion, and Eldric Shadowchaser… with his blazing sword Lightbringer that the darkness was put to rout

TWoIaF – The Bones and Beyond: Yi Ti

“He slew his wife to fight the dark.

ASoS – Davos V

 

The Others are arguably the embodiment of darkness, yet why be so vague when it comes to Essos and Azor Ahai? Compare this to the explicit account of the last hero physically slaying the Others with a sword of dragonsteel:

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“I found one account of the Long Night that spoke of the last hero slaying Others with a blade of dragonsteel. Supposedly they could not stand against it.”

AFFC – Samwell I

 

In comparison, the legend of Azor Ahai fighting the darkness just seems like a filtered depiction of the last hero fighting the Others, as if seen through a vision in the flames:

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“… the fight against the dark, I have seen it in the flames.”

“Melisandre swears that she has seen me in her flames, facing the dark with Lightbringer…”

ASoS – Davos V

“Stannis is the Lord’s chosen, destined to lead the fight against the dark. I have seen it in the flames…”

ADWD – Jon X

 

Azor Ahai may have just been a vision of the last hero.

Both are legendary heroes who defeated evil with a special sword, yet only one can paint a vivid picture.

Azor Ahai supposedly led the virtuous men into battle and put the darkness to rout:

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… arose to give courage to the race of men and lead the virtuous into battle with his blazing sword Lightbringer that the darkness was put to rout

Yet it was the last hero who recruited the children who then banded together the men of the Night’s Watch and literally put the Others to rout, sending them fleeing north:

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Alone he finally reached the children, despite the efforts of the white walkers, and all the tales agree this was a turning point. Thanks to the children, the first men of the Night’s Watch banded together and were able to fight—and win—the Battle for the Dawn: the last battle that broke the endless winter and sent the Others fleeing to the icy north.

TWoIaF – Ancient History: The Long Night

 

Considering the last hero’s actions led to the founding of the Watch, and he wielded a unique sword that could hurt the Others, he was likely the one who lead the virtuous men — the Night’s Watch — into battle and put the darkness to rout, which could have been glimpsed in a vision in the flames on the other side of the world, where people wished for a savior, not from the Others but from the darkness and cold.

Also remember that the figure of Azor Ahai is deeply intertwined with the faith of R’hllor:

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Azor Ahai, beloved of R’hllor! The Warrior of Light, the Son of Fire!”

ADWD – Jon III

The Lord of Light has seen his children in their peril and sent a champion to them, Azor Ahai reborn.”

ACoK – Davos I

This legend has spread west from Asshai, and the followers of R’hllor claim that this hero was named Azor Ahai

TWoIaF – Ancient History: The Long Night

In other words, my theory is that the people who continuously put their faith in visions seen in the flames may have put their faith in a figure only seen in the flames.

Ironically, the truest part of Azor Ahai is probably his prophesied rebirth. Because he may have never lived but someone will fulfill that savior role.

And that someone is not going to Essos.

Whether it be Daenerys, Jon, or Stannis, isn’t it curious that all of them are converging on Westeros? Does Essos not need a savior? Why is Westeros hoarding all of them? It’s as if Essos doesn’t need to fight the Others at all. 

Because they were never there the first time, and the Five Forts weren’t built for them… nor were they built by the Great Empire of the Dawn (GEotD).

The Great Empire of the Dawn

Just like the base of the Hightower, the Five Forts are structures made entirely of fused black stone which predate the rise of Valyria:

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Certain scholars from the west have suggested Valyrian involvement in the construction of the Five Forts, for the great walls are single slabs of fused black stone that resemble certain Valyrian citadels in the west…but this seems unlikely, for the Forts predate the Freehold’s rise, and there is no record of any dragonlords ever coming so far east.

TWoIaF – The Bones and Beyond: Yi Ti

Being fused black stone, they evidently required dragons to make and someone to command them… the best candidates being the Mazemakers, considering the clues they are behind the fused black stone on Battle Isle. Not to mention the fact that the Five Fort’s walls are excessively massive:

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There is something godlike, or demonic, about the monstrous size of the forts, for each of the five is large enough to house ten thousand men, and their massive walls stand almost a thousand feet high.

TWoIaF – The Bones and Beyond: Yi Ti

Well, so were the giants in Essos; they were twice as large as the giants in Westeros and there is little reason to doubt they fought alongside the half-giants:

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Even the snowcapped northernmost peaks … were once home to the Jhogwin, the stone giants, massive creatures said to have been twice as large as the giants of Westeros.

TWoIaF – The Bones and Beyond

In fact, with the forts being massive as well, this is strangely reminsecient of what Old Nan said about giants, that they were outsized men who lived in colossal castles:

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In Old Nan’s stories, giants were outsized men who lived in colossal castles

ASoS – Jon II

But why would the Mazemakers not build a maze this time?

Well, as my theory goes, they never built any mazes out of necessity but simply out of fondness for the labyrinthine underground. Therefore, if their priority with the forts was defense, they likely sacrificed the mazes for higher walls.

Some claim the Five Forts were raised by the Pearl Emperor of the GEotD, much like in Westeros it is claimed Bran the Builder built the Wall:

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The Five Forts are very old, older than the Golden Empire itself; some claim they were raised by the Pearl Emperor…

Yet here is what George has said about such legends: 

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Much of those details are lost in the mists of time and legend. No one can even say for certain if Brandon the Builder ever lived. He is as remote from the time of the novels as Noah and Gilgamesh are from our own time.

The Citadel: So Spake Martin – SEPTEMBER 27, 2000

 

And here’s some secondhand information from another interview: 

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Bran the builder is supposed to have built the Wall, Winterfel, and Storms End. GRRM mentioned that he has become a legend so that people will look at a structure and say “wow, it must have been built by Bran the Builder” when it actually was not. … so if at some point you see, “They say it was built by Bran the Builder or Lann the Clever” realize that its part of the mythos.

The Citadel: So Spake Martin – AUGUST 29, 2002

 

If we can’t trust the legends claiming Bran the Builder built the Wall, why should we trust legends from the other side of the world claiming the GEotD built the Forts?

Well, because they were an Empire, right? An empire can build all that.

Well, you would still have to prove this mythical empire existed in the first place, that it was not just a legend.

Some readers believe the emperors were actually glimpsed, as ancestral ghosts in a dream Daenerys had, according to their gemstone eyes, which were opal, amethyst, tourmaline, and jade, matching only 4 of the Great Emperors:

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Ghosts lined the hallway, dressed in the faded raiment of kings. In their hands were swords of pale fire. They had hair of silver and hair of gold and hair of platinum white, and their eyes were opal and amethyst, tourmaline and jade.

AGoT – Daenerys IX

However, here is what George has said of gemstones and colors in fantasy:

Quote

The best fantasy is written in the language of dreams. Fantasy is silver and scarlet, indigo and azure, obsidian veined with gold and lapis lazuli. Reality is plywood and plastic, done up in mud brown and olive drab. We read fantasy to find the colors again, I think.

ON FANTASY

 

This is a very small snippet of a larger quote, but the gist is still there; to George, the colors of gemstones like lapis lazuli may well just be an expression of fantasy. Which would explain Dany’s dream of gemstone colored kings but would also explain why he named the Great Emperors of the Dawn after gemstones: because when you already have the Golden Empire of Yi Ti, how do you make the Great Empire of the Dawn sound even more fantastical? 

Well, Amethyst Empress sounds cooler than the Purple Emperors of Yi Ti, and so and so forth.

In all likelihood, these ghosts were simply Dany’s ancestors written in the language of dreams, not the Emperors of the Dawn; their Empire was likely just legend, as was Bran the Builder, and they did not build the forts.

With the Mazemakers, we have bones to know they existed and contemporaneous structures to know they built things before anyone else. Legends suggest they were destroyed by enemies from the sea. I suggest those enemies were the Deep Ones fathered by the children of the forest.

And they are the truth behind the Drowned God.

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TL;DR: The books state that the children of the forest were mortal enemies with giants and that the mazemakers were giants annihilated by enemies from the sea, which were merlings in some tales. Yet the books also state the Deep Ones inspired the legends of merlings and that their fathers were creatures of the sea. The greenseers of the children were those sea creatures. They created the Deep Ones to vanquish the giant mazemakers and inspired the religion of the Drowned God.

In my next post, I will cover who really taught the Valyrians to tame dragons.

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I think you make a lot of fantastic connections here, and in general I agree with your conclusions, although I would add a thought or two on top.

I think that all magic in ASoIaF comes form men interbreeding with Singers, and this is alluded to by Dany's first vision in the House of the Undying (one of the few places in Essos where we still see Singers, the servitors, and Weirwoods, the trees from which the Shade of the Evening comes).

I do not think we have seen a true giant yet in the series, only halfbreeds. It is possible that the "last of the giants" in Westeros are dead and gone, but in this story death is not the end, and we have reason to believe we might see giants awoken from the earth. The fact that giants may have been part of constructing the Wall, and the Umber sigil of the giant in broken chains, may indicate that the giants did not participate willingly.

I would also suggest that it is entirely possible that the Singers are not a single united faction, but rather, like mankind, then are made up of competing groups. For instance, some might agree to a peace pact, some might wish to fight. I think it's even possible that the children may have fought a war between themselves way back when...

Anyway, great stuff!

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