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Heresy 242 The Other Starks


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From the very beginning a major tenet of Heresy has been the feeling that we've not been told the full story of the Starks and they are not the innocents they at first appear to be. Alienarea has kindly provided an OP for Heresy 242, exploring  this theme

 

"Through the chill of winter

Running across a frozen lake

Hunters hard on his trail

All odds are against him

With a family to provide for

But one thing he must keep alive

Will the wolf survive?"

This is not written by GRRM but the first verse of the song Will the wolf survive? by Los Lobos from October 1984. The album cover looks like a blueprint for the Starks' banner:

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/How_Will_the_Wolf_Survive%3F#/media/File%3AHowwillthewolfsurvive.jpg

I chose this to show how deeply rooted ASoIaF is in all kinds of sources, sometimes laying false trails to hide the obvious. 

In the tent ceremony we see a man in flames fighting a wolf. Starks and Targaryens are very old enemies. Of course, the wolf goes back to Fenrir from Norse mythology who brings the end to the Norse world eating Odin. Are the Starks evil?

One of the main points of GRRM is to have grey characters, and good and evil being defined by whom you root for. Are the dragons evil like in the known lore where they are always slain? Are the Others evil?

From the beginning, GRRM made (most of) us rooting for House Stark, though the Starks have a tendency for dying violent deaths. Maybe this has a hidden meaning?

Let's take a look at how the Starks who have died in ASoIAF so far meet their untimely end:

Rickard is boiled to death in King's Landing - possibly burned as the Targaryen champion is fire?

His son and heir Brandon strangles himself watching his father boil to death - does he get burned afterwards? 

Lyanna dies from a fever and her bones are sent to Winterfell.

Ned gets executed by beheading in King's Landing. Apparently, his bones are being sent to Winterfell, which implies the same happened to the bones of Rickard and Brandon.

Rob gets killed by the Frey's and beheaded afterwards. His direwolf Greywind also gets killed and beheaded, and Greywind's head gets sewn to Rob's body.

Catelyn, though only a Stark by marriage, gets killed, thrown in the river and revived by Beric.

Jon Snow, a son of Winterfell, the Lord Commander of the Night Watch, gets stabbed to death by his sworn brothers. Or doesn't he? The last he felt was the cold.

Which, in combination with the unknown fate of his uncle Benjen, who may or may not be Coldhands, a sentient wight, made me think of what may happen to dead Starks in case they are not beheaded, burned or warded by iron like the old kings of Winter - do they rise, at least in the North? Is this the cold hell reserved for Starks Ned was talking about?

After Bran and Rickon leave Winterfell, three iron swords are missing, among those the swords of Rickard and Brandon. Who probably cannot rise from the dead as only their bones reached Winterfell. Whom does the third sword belong to - did an ancient Stark rise to become the hooded man of Winterfell?

And how does this relate to the snowstorm originating from Winterfell, as first pointed out by @redriver ? Is this the meaning of Winter is coming?

And how is all of this connected to the Others? We are told by Old Nan that the Night King was the brother of the Stark of Winterfell, i.e. a Stark, too. As the legend says, he spotted his pale bride from the wall.

Was the Night King able to mate with the Other woman because of some genetic feature only Starks have? Maybe inherited from the maternal line of the Marsh kings, where the skinchanging is originating from? Are their offspring the current Starks? Are they half-Others?

Alien area

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Yes, its interesting that initially the story is framed as a feud between the Starks and the Lannisters in the aftermath  of the destruction of the Targaryens, but then we have the rise of Danaerys the Dragonlord and the seeming elimination of Jon Snow.  

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2 hours ago, Melifeather said:

Great into! Your words made me wonder if the man wreathed in flames is actually Rickard?

That is a possible interpretation, I guess. But how  would that fit with Daenerys? She has to go into the fire because her dad burned Rickard?

My take was that the man wreathed in flames was a symbol for the Targaryens ("fire cannot kill a dragon") who are in an eternal fight with the Starks (wolf). But why?

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Just now, alienarea said:

My take was that the man wreathed in flames was a symbol for the Targaryens ("fire cannot kill a dragon") who are in an eternal fight with the Starks (wolf). But why?

They are also described as the old powers according to MMD.  The great wolf and the man wreathed in flame.  So what are the old powers?

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Which, in combination with the unknown fate of his uncle Benjen, who may or may not be Coldhands, a sentient wight, made me think of what may happen to dead Starks in case they are not beheaded, burned or warded by iron like the old kings of Winter - do they rise, at least in the North? Is this the cold hell reserved for Starks Ned was talking about?

Bran and party are told by the Children about Coldhands "No. They killed him long ago."  The idea that unwarded, beheaded, or unburnt Starks can rise fits in with the above.  Also, being killed long ago to me means he's not Benjen, who is still MIA.

**********

And how does this relate to the snowstorm originating from Winterfell, as first pointed out by @redriver ? Is this the meaning of Winter is coming?
Is the Redriver post in one of the Heresy threads?  Would like to read it.

Whom does the third sword belong to - did an ancient Stark rise to become the hooded man of Winterfell?

Does Rickon still have that sword, did it go to Skagos with him?

 

Edited by LongRider
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4 minutes ago, LongRider said:

 

It's possible redriver created a thread about the snowstorm, my mind seems to recall that.

But we surely discussed in Heresy. Around # 155?

Not sure where that sword ended up or whether Rickon made it to Skagos. All we know is there is a shipwreck and Summer has a dream about Shaggydog fighting a kind of goat, which some interpret as a unicorn.

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18 minutes ago, alienarea said:

That is a possible interpretation, I guess. But how  would that fit with Daenerys? She has to go into the fire because her dad burned Rickard?

My take was that the man wreathed in flames was a symbol for the Targaryens ("fire cannot kill a dragon") who are in an eternal fight with the Starks (wolf). But why?

You had brought up the topic of what happens to Starks when they die. Since Rickard was burned, what of his spirit? Is he now a vengeful one? Were the proper steps taken to ward his remains with iron?

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39 minutes ago, Melifeather said:

You had brought up the topic of what happens to Starks when they die. Since Rickard was burned, what of his spirit? Is he now a vengeful one? Were the proper steps taken to ward his remains with iron?

Depends on whether the bones burned, too.

"The bones remember."

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I have too many not yet structured thoughts on this that I didn't put in the op.

For example, if the old powers ice and fire, represented by a wolf and a man wreathed in flames, are known to Mizzi Maz Duur (spelling?) in Essos, then the Stark - Targaryen conflict goes back a long way and probably started in Essos. This opens a possibilty for "The prince that was promised" not referring to the Targaryens but the Starks. Bran.

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18 minutes ago, alienarea said:

I have too many not yet structured thoughts on this that I didn't put in the op.

For example, if the old powers ice and fire, represented by a wolf and a man wreathed in flames, are known to Mizzi Maz Duur (spelling?) in Essos, then the Stark - Targaryen conflict goes back a long way and probably started in Essos. This opens a possibilty for "The prince that was promised" not referring to the Targaryens but the Starks. Bran.

Yes, Leaf's been waiting for 200 years?  Sounds like he was promised.  Not to mention that his name cannot/must not be spoken (by Sam). 

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14 hours ago, alienarea said:

I have too many not yet structured thoughts on this that I didn't put in the op.

For example, if the old powers ice and fire, represented by a wolf and a man wreathed in flames, are known to Mizzi Maz Duur (spelling?) in Essos, then the Stark - Targaryen conflict goes back a long way and probably started in Essos. This opens a possibilty for "The prince that was promised" not referring to the Targaryens but the Starks. Bran.

Looking at this logically [dangerous, I know] if we start off with two opposed but equal sides, ie' Ice and Fire; then if a Prince [or champion or whatever] is promised on one side, then there ought to be a corresponding Prince promised on the other, maintaining the balance. A case can certainly be made for Bran and Danaerys paralleling each other.

Of course if that is so, then Jon becomes the outlier and possibly ultimately a sinister one. 

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5 hours ago, Black Crow said:

Looking at this logically [dangerous, I know] if we start off with two opposed but equal sides, ie' Ice and Fire; then if a Prince [or champion or whatever] is promised on one side, then there ought to be a corresponding Prince promised on the other, maintaining the balance. A case can certainly be made for Bran and Danaerys paralleling each other.

Of course if that is so, then Jon becomes the outlier and possibly ultimately a sinister one. 

I was connecting the Prince that was promised to the woman in the pool of Winterfell praying for a son to avenge her.

Who is she?

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4 hours ago, Black Crow said:

One assumes she was one of "The She-Wolves of Winterfell"

That is the story that hasn't been released (yet?), right?

Either it would have given away  something or GRRM changed direction.

Getting back to the Other Starks. We already know the older Starks from the crypts have a different look, let's call it more savage. That changed, maybe when the original Ice got lost?

That would be the time when the ability to skinchange got lost. Now it came back, with the direwolf puppies.

This brings me to Rickard and Brandon again, and the prophecy of father and son so both die kings. I raised it now and then. 

If your line of thinking about a prince being promised to both ice and fire is correct, the other prophecies might apply to both old powers.

What if Summerhall wasn't the dragon recipe, but the White Walker one?

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