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Craster's Daughters


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In ACOK Gilly informs us:  "For the baby, not for me. If it's a girl, that's not so bad, she'll grow a few years and he'll marry her. But Nella says it's to be a boy, and she's had six and knows these things. He gives the boys to the gods. Come the white cold, he does, and of late it comes more often. That's why he started giving them sheep, even though he has a taste for mutton. Only now the sheep's gone too. Next it will be dogs, till . . ." She lowered her eyes and stroked her belly.   Jon III

Craster is a nasty thing.  Still I wonder if this passage isn't telling us something else.   Sons are the primary sacrifice then sheep then dogs, but no daughters?  Why wouldn't the daughters be an acceptable sacrifice?   Is this telling us daughters are more or less valuable than dogs?  Could daughters be sacrifices as a last resort or are they simply unacceptable?

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3 hours ago, Curled Finger said:

Why wouldn't the daughters be an acceptable sacrifice?   Is this telling us daughters are more or less valuable than dogs?  Could daughters be sacrifices as a last resort or are they simply unacceptable?

Really? It's obvious that the Others cannot breed, and Craster needs women to breed, to keep child bearing women coming, and sons to give to the Others so he can stay alive. Through all of history, all groups no matter the region protected women at all costs, because they are the only way to keep the species going, even the Others.

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11 hours ago, Mourning Star said:

Or maybe the daughters are just needed to make more sons?

There are like 30 daughter and grandaughters, surely tossing one out in the cold would be better than starving to death? 

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9 hours ago, Lord Lannister said:

Given the way he treats his wives/daughters it's clear he doesn't value them beyond his own carnal needs.

Yah it reads like torture.  Beyond carnal chores the women and girls seem to do the majority of the work.  It is a hinky deal.  

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8 hours ago, Jon-Snow said:

Really? It's obvious that the Others cannot breed, and Craster needs women to breed, to keep child bearing women coming, and sons to give to the Others so he can stay alive. Through all of history, all groups no matter the region protected women at all costs, because they are the only way to keep the species going, even the Others.

I am aware of the idea, but it is by no means canon.   We don't know what the Others are or want.  We don't know they can't breed.   Back when I was just reading without the benefit of so many ideas and opinions I thought the Others were somehow eating or drawing life force from the sons.  

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16 hours ago, Jon-Snow said:

Really? It's obvious that the Others cannot breed, and Craster needs women to breed, to keep child bearing women coming, and sons to give to the Others so he can stay alive. 

Is it that obvious, though? Old Nan says that the Others can breed. While I question the accuracy of her telling the children it was the wildlings the Others were having half-human children during the Long Night, seeing as the wildlings were not a thing during that period, the idea that the Others can breed is planted in the text right off the bat. Then we have the Night's King's queen who sounds like a Other or half-Other, and he doesn't seem to have a problem having children with her. Children that he was sacrificing to the Others. 

The women are definitely being used as baby incubators. But I think that it might come down to whatever agreement Craster had with the Others. 

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24 minutes ago, Moiraine Sedai said:

The white walkers are building an army but they can’t just take anybody. The boys need to control wights. Therefore the need for the Stark/Craster boys. Military are built with boys. They are the opposition to the all-male order of the Night’s Watch.  

Thank you for you thoughts.    I don't know what the Others are doing and fail to recognize the higher value in a male soldier in any army.  There are roughly a million and a half soldiers in the US military.   That military is comprised of nearly 15% women with an additional 18% or so in the reserves.   Small, true, but not insignificant.  We see 1 Other in a group of 6 I think in the prologue of AGOT.   That 1 Other appears to make very short work of Waymar Royce with superior skill and weaponry.  6 well trained fighters of either gender could have killed Waymar with little effort yet only 1 stepped up to the plate.    The truth is we don't know what we are dealing with in the Others.  

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2 hours ago, Alexis-something-Rose said:

Is it that obvious, though? Old Nan says that the Others can breed. While I question the accuracy of her telling the children it was the wildlings the Others were having half-human children during the Long Night, seeing as the wildlings were not a thing during that period, the idea that the Others can breed is planted in the text right off the bat. Then we have the Night's King's queen who sounds like a Other or half-Other, and he doesn't seem to have a problem having children with her. Children that he was sacrificing to the Others. 

The women are definitely being used as baby incubators. But I think that it might come down to whatever agreement Craster had with the Others. 

You always bring deeper consideration to a conversation Alexis.  How many times have I thanked you?    This is no different.   Ah if only we understood what that agreement was.   It's possible the Others could breed before but now can't and require babies for something but what?   As I said above, I thought it was either food or life force originally.    If the Others are female and on the move NOW, what good is an infant male child?   They don't produce sperm?  So what would any Other do with a useless human baby?  

I do hope we learn what the sacrifices are for.   In these sacrifices I see some unknown purpose the Others have for humans but still no idea what the purpose is.  There are not a great lot of them in the current story.   Small groups with a tremendous propensity for destruction.  Still these sacrifices are infants.   I read somewhere that there were over 90 of Craster's sons given over.  If that number is true the sacrifice could simply be a matter of numbers in that there are an abundance of sons not daughters--giving those baby girls value other than service to Craster.  Still you would think Craster would know enough to hold a couple of sons back to continue the sacrifices and keep in future generations?   

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10 minutes ago, Curled Finger said:

 It's possible the Others could breed before but now can't and require babies for something but what?

The biggest threat against the world is the thing that we know the least about! I vote for a POV in the lands of always winter. The way I see the Others is that they need all kinds for their society to survive and thrive. 

What is regarded as a sacrifice by Craster and his wives is probably regarded as something different by the Others. We don't know how the Long Night ended, we don't know if there were deals put in place between the Others and humans. But a person has to be willing to make the sacrifice for whatever to work. Nissa Nissa wasn't just sacrificed. She was also a willing sacrifice. And I think we can apply what Melisandre told Davos in ASoS about sacrifice. If a man has a thousand cows, then it's not a real sacrifice, but if he has just the one cow and sacrifices it, then that's different. Craster has sons, but he has no sons to speak of because he is willingly giving them up. 

One of the wives in Sam II, ASoS, straight up tells Sam to take Gilly, the baby and go because the baby's brothers who are Craster's sons are on their way. She can feel the white cold rising out there and she is not wrong, because it seems that Craster's Keep was in fact attacked in ADwD. The mutineers of the NW that Coldhands kills in Bran II, ADwD,  have no reason to leave Craster's Keep unless the Others showed up.

And if Craster's sons are in fact being turned into Others, then there's part of the answer there. Plus I think that there is an element of blood purity happening here as well. Craster's sons are also his grandsons, his nephews, his cousins and probably his brothers too. 

The Targaryens married each other because of (allegedly) a magical bond that exists between them and their dragons. So I tend to think that there may be something similar going on with the Others.

Actually, I think that there is something to be said about the Targaryens ability to hatch dragons once they started marrying outside the family (or outside Valyrian families) more frequently. In fact, I don't think it's a coincidence that Dany, a descendant of two sibling to sibling marriages managed to do what her great grandfather, Egg, whose mother was a Dayne and grandmother a Martell, failed at. The conditions at Drogo's pyre and Summerhall were exactly the same, but she succeeded where he failed.

I think that blood "purity" for the Others for some reason seems to matter enough that they have been going to Craster and his baby factory. We don't hear about them taking babies from other wildlings and when Old Nan tells Bran about the Long Night, she tells him that even suckling babes found no pity in them.

I did have the thought that Craster's sons are used to make children with female Others.

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Okay, I am not familiar with the Craster is a Stark theory (I should read up more on that) but if he is then that could explain why they only want his sons.

Another theory I (and everyone else I'm sure) do know, is that Jon is the Prince that was promised. It seems his blood is the key factor in him being the PtwP, Stark & Targ etc. But what if it's only the Stark blood that's important, or perhaps more realistically the Stark blood is what the Others know of to be important. (Targs weren't around thousands of years ago etc) 

So the Others may be interested in Craster's sons for their Stark blood. Maybe a son from his line is a possibility when it comes to the next PtwP. 

I don't have any evidence per se, but the Craster is a Stark and Stark blood being a key component of the PtwP it may be of keen interest to the Others.

Spitballing, and I've not put loads of thought into this one but it seemed relevant so thought I'd throw it in here. :D

Edit: Or perhaps those with Stark blood are the only humans who can become Others? The rest would just be Wights.

Edited by Wizz-The-Smith
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40 minutes ago, Alexis-something-Rose said:

The biggest threat against the world is the thing that we know the least about! I vote for a POV in the lands of always winter. The way I see the Others is that they need all kinds for their society to survive and thrive. 

What is regarded as a sacrifice by Craster and his wives is probably regarded as something different by the Others. We don't know how the Long Night ended, we don't know if there were deals put in place between the Others and humans. But a person has to be willing to make the sacrifice for whatever to work. Nissa Nissa wasn't just sacrificed. She was also a willing sacrifice. And I think we can apply what Melisandre told Davos in ASoS about sacrifice. If a man has a thousand cows, then it's not a real sacrifice, but if he has just the one cow and sacrifices it, then that's different. Craster has sons, but he has no sons to speak of because he is willingly giving them up. 

One of the wives in Sam II, ASoS, straight up tells Sam to take Gilly, the baby and go because the baby's brothers who are Craster's sons are on their way. She can feel the white cold rising out there and she is not wrong, because it seems that Craster's Keep was in fact attacked in ADwD. The mutineers of the NW that Coldhands kills in Bran II, ADwD,  have no reason to leave Craster's Keep unless the Others showed up.

And if Craster's sons are in fact being turned into Others, then there's part of the answer there. Plus I think that there is an element of blood purity happening here as well. Craster's sons are also his grandsons, his nephews, his cousins and probably his brothers too. 

The Targaryens married each other because of (allegedly) a magical bond that exists between them and their dragons. So I tend to think that there may be something similar going on with the Others.

Actually, I think that there is something to be said about the Targaryens ability to hatch dragons once they started marrying outside the family (or outside Valyrian families) more frequently. In fact, I don't think it's a coincidence that Dany, a descendant of two sibling to sibling marriages managed to do what her great grandfather, Egg, whose mother was a Dayne and grandmother a Martell, failed at. The conditions at Drogo's pyre and Summerhall were exactly the same, but she succeeded where he failed.

I think that blood "purity" for the Others for some reason seems to matter enough that they have been going to Craster and his baby factory. We don't hear about them taking babies from other wildlings and when Old Nan tells Bran about the Long Night, she tells him that even suckling babes found no pity in them.

I did have the thought that Craster's sons are used to make children with female Others.

Now that's a line of thinking I've read before but didn't really understand, that The Others would parallel the dragons.    Not so difficult to confuse what I expect to be a humanish sort of being (this is a form only thing--I do get the the Others are magical) with a strictly magical reptile//animal.  I don't even feel stupid anymore for not putting these things together.  What I always appreciate about your posts is how you definitively connect separate stories.   Not to mention the wonderful manner in which you make the comparisons to the contrasts.   Of course the Others are tied to the Starks, but how?  We had a Last Hero, not necessarily a House Stark the first time The Others came.  What is this?  

I remember thinking the Others are precisely why there must always be a Stark in Winterfell.   I did not know why but I was certain of it.  The vast majority of our heroes from the Age of were male.  I assume TLH was a male as well.  Could the sacrifice of sons over daughters be as simple as this is what it was in the beginning?  Wow!

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34 minutes ago, Wizz-The-Smith said:

Okay, I am not familiar with the Craster is a Stark theory (I should read up more on that) but if he is then that could explain why they only want his sons.

Another theory I (and everyone else I'm sure) do know, is that Jon is the Prince that was promised. It seems his blood is the key factor in him being the PtwP, Stark & Targ etc. But what if it's only the Stark blood that's important, or perhaps more realistically the Stark blood is what the Others know of to be important. (Targs weren't around thousands of years ago etc) 

So the Others may be interested in Craster's sons for their Stark blood. Maybe a son from his line is a possibility when it comes to the next PtwP. 

I don't have any evidence per se, but the Craster is a Stark and Stark blood being a key component of the PtwP it may be of keen interest to the Others.

Spitballing, and I've not put loads of thought into this one but it seemed relevant so thought I'd throw it in here. :D

Edit: Or perhaps those with Stark blood are the only humans who can become Others? The rest would just be Wights.

Wiz, you were here long before I showed up so I am certain you are familiar with every theory ever dreamed up!  It is the recall I often stumble on and imagine your wonderful mind can only keep so much at a time.  I've read several Craster is a Stark theories.   Truth is there is not enough real information on Craster to make that clear jump, but taken with the post above (I cannot tag Alexis-something-Rose as it seems I am unable to type beyond the tag.), it's once again clear that blood purity is a thing with these magical elements.  Craster as a Stark.  Eww.  

PwP indeed.  A term perhaps interchangeable with AA.  But there are 3 great heroes of lore.  PwP and AA seem to be global fire legends where The Last Hero is specific to the north of Westeros and the Starks, at least in my humble opinion.   Sure, it could be no more than legend, but an awfully odd legend considering TLN was a world event and the north is where The Others are making themselves known in the current tale.   That said I encounter obstacles where the heroes are concerned.  To tie back into the OP, all 3 heroes are said to be male, but in our current story we have a Stark as PwP and a girl fitting AA.  Along this thinking am horrified to think Craster was a type of TLH.  I need a shower.  

Others searching for PwP instead of a Stark is new thinking to me and I appreciate that and the logic involved.  Still, we know everyone, even a magical maester, was wrong about AA.  Of course the term is PwP, but they blur in my mind.  That Starks may be the only human who can transform into others is a great idea.  I think many readers assume the woman the NK took up with was an Other.  Could be.  Even if NK was a Stark and NQ was an Other, the children were still sacrificed, presumably to The Others.   I think that is where my disconnect occurs.  I get the valuable magical Stark blood, but not the other Other blood being valuable.   Why would The Others want creatures with their own blood?  Maybe an infusion of spicy Stark magic? 

If Craster is a Stark without the magical talents we see in the contemporary Starks, what would it matter if he gave his daughters?   Magic is as strong in Arya as Jon and Jon is the presumed Dude here.  

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24 minutes ago, Curled Finger said:

Now that's a line of thinking I've read before but didn't really understand, that The Others would parallel the dragons. 

I don't know that they would parallel the dragons, but rather the Targaryens. 

27 minutes ago, Curled Finger said:

Of course the Others are tied to the Starks, but how?  We had a Last Hero, not necessarily a House Stark the first time The Others came.  What is this?  

I think there are many ways the blood of the Others could have entered the Stark line. Option one is the most obvious, which would be marriage. The Starks are known to take the daughters of the defeated and marry them. They did it with the daughters of the Marsh King, which might have introduced the warging ability into the line. It's possible that Bran the Builder married a female Other.

Option two has to do with the Night's King who may have been a Stark. We know that he had children with his queen and that only after he was taken down was it found out that he had been sacrificing to the Others. I think it's possible that Brandon the Breaker would have taken in his brother's child and raised them at Winterfell as his bastard for instance, just like Ned did with Jon. There is a running theme with the Starks raising baby boys under assumed identities. There's Jon Snow and there's Bael the Bard's son as well, which according to Ygritte means that the Starks have wildling blood.

40 minutes ago, Curled Finger said:

I remember thinking the Others are precisely why there must always be a Stark in Winterfell.

Without a shadow of a doubt, imo. There must always be a Stark in Winterfell, Winter is Coming sounds like a warning, there's a horn called the Horn of Winter. The last hero might be a Stark. Winterfell knew things that it has now forgotten. The Starks and Winterfell are most definitely central to everything that's going on. I like how there's a giant snow storm engulfing the castle when the Boltons lay claim to it. 

It's also funny that the reason there is no longer a Stark in Winterfell is because a Greryjoy essentially scattered them, and now there's a Greyjoy all the way in the south who is getting ready to enact some massive blood sacrifice that will bring about who knows what.

1 hour ago, Curled Finger said:

I don't even feel stupid anymore for not putting these things together.  What I always appreciate about your posts is how you definitively connect separate stories.   Not to mention the wonderful manner in which you make the comparisons to the contrasts.

I have a library of notes that I have been accumulating for something like 5 years now. It started out of boredom and because I thought TWoW was about to be released and grew into a monster. I've spent so much time doing this that I remember full sentences and entire paragraphs and I know exactly what key words to search for if I'm using the ice and fire search engine, I know which POV and I know which book. Nobody should feel stupid for not remembering things. People like me just need to be carted off in a straight jacket.  

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Yeah, if this were an effective baby sacrifice factory Craster would be saving some portion of the sons to relive some of his own responsibilities and expand the potential of the entire operation. Just by saving 1 son per breeding cycle he could have (starting in year 12 because that bastard Craster isn't going to wait until they're old enough to drive) exponentially increased his production potential.  If someone had six sigma'd the thing 15 to 20 years ago the Others could have been over the Wall before Robert got gored.  Sure, that's a bit of a joke, but is the fact that Craster is working at the pace he's working despite the fact that he has the means and materials to increase production an indication that his production was being deliberately paced? 

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1 hour ago, Aejohn the Conqueroo said:

Yeah, if this were an effective baby sacrifice factory Craster would be saving some portion of the sons to relive some of his own responsibilities and expand the potential of the entire operation. Just by saving 1 son per breeding cycle he could have (starting in year 12 because that bastard Craster isn't going to wait until they're old enough to drive) exponentially increased his production potential.  If someone had six sigma'd the thing 15 to 20 years ago the Others could have been over the Wall before Robert got gored.  Sure, that's a bit of a joke, but is the fact that Craster is working at the pace he's working despite the fact that he has the means and materials to increase production an indication that his production was being deliberately paced? 

Ah thanks very much for picking up on that and expanding the thought to be far more clear!   Lots of bents on sons in this story.   Second Sons, third sons, bastards and now sacrificed sons among heirs and spares.  Contrary to what many deem as a woman's lack of value int his time and place I think it's pretty clear that daughters are as politically important as sons.   (Hoster and Tyrion both saw their girls as huge bargaining chips--that is of course Lysa and Myrcella, sorry.)  Of course we don't know that The Others are anything remotely political but I still find it very odd Craster would run his bloodline out of existence in giving all the boys away and starve before offering up a daughter.   

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