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What’s up with Borroq and his boar?


Evolett
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21 hours ago, Seams said:

I'm looking for this citation. Can you tell me which chapter it's in?

I was able to find where Tyrion says he is supposed to fall off the pig, and I can find where Penny says that the goal is to make people laugh, but I can't find anything about a plan for the pig and its rider to lose in the mummer jousting.

That he is supposed to lose is not in the text. My assumption is falling of  the pig means to lose the tilt as per the rules in a real jousting. My understanding is that if the jouster falls he has the option of yielding if he is incapcitated or continuing the fight on foot  until a winner emerges. Since the dwarfs are staging a show all sorts of antics designed to entertain are included but the rider of the pig always ends up the loser. The wolf-knight falls of his pig, doesn't score even when he beheads the stag-knight and yields atop his own mount while being mock-raped. 
Oppo, former rider of the pig was beheaded and Tyrion has a price on his head. After the tilt on the ship, one sailor was angry because Tyrion lost: Must have no balls, let girl beat you.” And Tyrion thinks: "He wagered coin on me," indicating the man placed a bet on him to win, but he lost. Perhaps the author uses this "falling off a pig" motiv to indicate a loss of power, status or even life, similar to the Dothraki maxim regarding a Khal falling off his horse. 

This dialogue between Jorah and Tyrion after the tilt also caught my attention:

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“I fell off the bloody pig and bit my tongue. What could possibly be worse than that?” “Getting a splinter through your eye and dying.”

Is getting a splinter through one's eye and dying a progression on falling off a pig? Ser Waymar got a splinter through his eye and died. His brother Robar who belongs to your Robb/Robert/boar wordgroup supported the stag and was slain by Loras.

I also found out that House Crakehall was founded by an ancestor called Crake the Boarkiller during the Age of Heros, suggesting the Crakehalls should be seen as boar killers rather than as boars, making the Lannister association with dogs and pigs/boars clearer. Both animals are probably symbolic killers. 

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On 7/23/2022 at 1:18 AM, LongRider said:

So, we have, Jon, a novice warg with no training, who has been stabbed and we don't know if he is dead or alive.  Will he warg into Ghost, will Borroq warg into Ghost?  If Borroq wargs into Ghost and finds Jon there, then what?  Push him out?  We've been shown it can happen, or something else?

If Jon doesn't/can't warg into Ghost, or gets pushed out by Borroq, seems like he would be in a bigger world of hurt than he is already. Even if he could warg into Ghost, would the wolf let anyone else near him?  Warging into Ghost could bring out may unknown issues, not just a 2nd life.  Would Borroq be a helper or threat to Jon, or just watch the show?

Agreed, Jon is in a very vulnerable position, a situation I feel Borroq will take advantage of. As I've said previously, I don't think he has good intentions or in any way intends to help Jon. Preventing Jon from beginning a second life in Ghost is however important if Jon is to be resurrected because I believe the second life is a final state of affairs - no return of the spirit to the human body. That said, I doubt Borroq will succeed in making Ghost his own. I think Ghost is strong enough to resist the skinchanger and suspect Val will play a role as well and that the whole affair will have a positive outcome. In the Dragontamer chapter, Quentyn's ploy to steal one of Dany's dragons fails but results in the release of the dragons at a time when they are really needed. 

 

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There is alot to unpack Evolett's thoughtful post.    

On 7/21/2022 at 1:18 PM, Evolett said:

I don't think it matters that Borroq already has a second life in the form of his boar. Varamyr originally had six "second lives" to choose from and still considered Ghost worthier to live that life in than those other six:  ~~~snip~~~  As far as Borroq knows, Mance is dead and no longer presents a restraining force and if Ghost is such an appealing subject for a second life, I can see him going for it. 

I also don't see him helping Jon, or teaching him anything about skinchanging at this late hour, at least not intentionally. Borroq has hardly been congenial towards Jon, despite recognising him as a fellow skinchanging "brother." And I trust in Ghost's judgement. The direwolves have never been wrong regarding those who are enemies to the Stark kids. 

If Borroq helps Jon, it will be unintentional. Taking Ghost away from Jon spiritually or preventing him from taking this option is probably necessary to Jon's resurrection  process. Varamyr's prologue tells us two things about the second life:

a) the need to choose which animal to live it in after death, because it can only be one, at least where wolves are concerned. Varamyr's internal debate on which wolf to live his second life in more than suggests that the choice is final - no more switching between the animals as he pleases. He thinks of the pros and cons of each animal before reaching a decision. I doubt he would have spent so much time thinking about it if the option of changing wolves were available after death. Leaving the wolf chosen for  the second life in spirit to inhabit any other animal or being is not possible.

b) that the wolf-man bond cannot be broken is also suggested by the account of Mel's attack on Orell's eagle which Varamyr was inhabiting. After Mel's fiery treatment, Varamyr is driven out of the eagle and loses both shadowcat and bear but keeps all three wolves, implying the wolf-bond is very potent and cannot be broken, not even by fire. As Haggon teaches Varamyr:   "“Wolves and women wed for life,” Haggon often said. “You take one, that’s a marriage. The wolf is part of you from that day on, and you’re part of him. Both of you will change.”

 

 
Haggon also says 
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"They say you forget," Haggon had told him, a few weeks before his own death. "When the man's flesh dies, his spirit lives on inside the beast, but every day his memory fades, and the beast becomes a little less a warg, a little more a wolf, until nothing of the man is left and only the beast remains."

GRRM reveals more about warging in Bran III, ADWD   

Quote

"Someone else was in the raven," he told Lord Brynden, once he had returned to his own skin. "Some girl. I felt her."
"A woman, of those who sing the song of earth," his teacher said. "Long dead, yet a part of her remains, just as a part of you would remain in Summer if your boy's flesh were to die upon the morrow. A shadow on the soul. She will not harm you."

And, if the man's memory fades when in the wolf, it may take a long time as it seems indicated by BRs comments above to Bran.  However, this also shows, again, that a beast who is carrying a 2nd life can also be warged by another at that time as well, as Bran is doing when he wargs the ravens. 

Evolett mentioned above "Varamyr's internal debate on which wolf to live his second life in more than suggests that the choice is final..." What BR says to Bran aligns with this.  Good catch!

BR also commented 

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"Do all the birds have singers in them?"

"All," Lord Brynden said. "It was the singers who taught the First Men to send messages by raven … but in those days, the birds would speak the words. 

This implies that the message ravens were warged at the time of speaking the message.  If BR or Bran are warging Mormont's raven, I think it's likely that they are sharing the bird with a Cof 2nd life.  The NW has been spied on by warged ravens for centuries!  It's just not the trees who have eyes.    :ph34r:      Also, this explains why CH cold talk to the ravens.

 
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 Evolett said:     The implication here is that if Jon wargs into his wolf in death, there will be no turing back, no return of the spirit to life. Wolf and man-spirit are forever bonded in life and in death. Proponents of the Ghost/Jon resurrection theory don't take this into account. If Borroq tries to steal Ghost from Jon, he'll be doing it to secure a second life "worthy of a king" and, he will be doing us all a favor as well, but he won't be doing it because because he wants to help Jon.

Totally agree with the bolded.  Also, if Jon goes into Ghost when dead, Ghost can still be warged by another while Jon is there.  The intruder can be accepted or rejected by the 2nd life in the beast being warged, is what is implied.

But what if Jon isn't dead and wargs into Ghost?  Digging into the 2nd life of warg is much broader and more complex than I originally thought.  

One last comment, Varamyr displaced Haggon from his wolf killing him for good.  Would that also happen to comatose body that is not dead?   So many questions.  

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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This is a very interesting topic and a very good discussion. I think Borroq will be important later on. His arrival in Castle Black places a lot of emphasis on this character, being a skinchanger, the last one to enter, calling Jon "brother".

As for what his role will be... There are some very convincing posts above on how Borroq may become important. For my part though, I would like to speculate on how we, readers, are meant to react to him.

Borroq definitely does not seem to be a nice guy. To start with, he is extremely ugly. 

"Borroq looked so much like his boar that all he lacked was tusks," as Varamyr thinks. According to Jon, the man is "no beauty", he has an ugly smile, Jon notices how ugly the boar is even for a boar (and Borroq looks like his boar).

Tormund does not seem to like him. This can be simply because Borroq is a skinchanger or because of other reasons. Apparently, even skinchangers have biases (justified or not, we don't know) against other skinchangers. Again, Varamyr's recollections:

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"Wolves and women wed for life," Haggon often said. "You take one, that's a marriage. The wolf is part of you from that day on, and you're part of him. Both of you will change."

Other beasts were best left alone, the hunter had declared. Cats were vain and cruel, always ready to turn on you. Elk and deer were prey; wear their skins too long, and even the bravest man became a coward. Bears, boars, badgers, weasels … Haggon did not hold with such. "Some skins you never want to wear, boy. You won't like what you'd become." Birds were the worst, to hear him tell it. 

 

So, according to Haggon, another wildling skinchanger, boars are among the "skins" that should be left alone due to what skinchangers bonded to them might become. Since Haggon was apparently a much better person than his pupil, Varamyr, we should probably listen to his opinion on quesions of skinchanger morality.

Then, there is also Ghost. He apparently does not like Borroq or his boar, or maybe either, which causes some tension in Castle Black. That should put Jon and us on our guard.

In addition, Borroq's clearly does not possess an engaging manner. Although he calls Jon "brother" at first (skinchangers apparently recognize each other, Jon certainly does recognize him at first sight), he also calls him a "crow" and Ghost a "dog" in the Shieldhall:

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"And where will you be, crow?" Borroq thundered. "Hiding here in Castle Black with your white dog?"

Not exactly respectful, is he?

There is also his strange habit of dwelling in a tomb, in the Shieldhall standing in a dark corner - enough to cause suspicion. In addition, Othell Yarwyck suspects him of bad intentions.   

Against all this, what is in his favour? It is that one word when he calls Jon "brother". What does that mean? Is this the usual greeting among skinchangers? We don't know, but Borroq does not seem to be the kind who is much concerned about the polite formalities of social interaction. Is it a sign that he has recognized Jon and that he knows that Jon has recognized him as well? Is it a sign of good will? But then - if it is so - why is he such a suspicious character?  

I don't have a definite answer, but I can imagine that maybe - maybe - Borroq's presentation to the reader is one of the author's little tricks to mislead us, playing on our prejudices.

He is ugly, but when did GRRM ever say that we should judge any character based on the character's degree of beauty? 

Haggon warned Varamyr against skinchangers bonded to boars, but how do we know it wasn't just Haggon's own prejudice against certain animals? After all, Varamyr was, like Haggon or the Starks, bonded to wolves, yet, he was anything but a good person. So can you really judge a skinchanger on the basis of his / her animal?

Tormund does not like Borroq, but do we know how well they know each other or what causes this dislike? 

Ghost does not like Borroq / the boar, and that's a tough problem to solve, but even here the author may play with the fact that Ghost cannot explain what exactly his problem is, so there is room for some misunderstanding here between Ghost and Jon.

Borroq's rough way of speaking in the Shieldhall ... It could be explained by a momentary feeling of disappointment when Jon says he is not going to Hardhome with the Watch. Borroq may have emotions after all.

Then there is his tendency to stay away from people and stay in the dark. I don't know, his staying away from other people may perhaps be due to his willingness to avoid conflicts between his boar and others (including Ghost), which may be caused by bad experience. He is apparently not a popular guy. No doubt, the boar has influenced his personality, and it wasn't good for his social skills. But does that necessarily mean he is a foe rather than a friend?

Othell's opinion is probably not a strong argument against him, since Othell is full of prejudice.

So, what I mean is that Borroq could be read in at least two very different ways, and it is probably not an accident. We will see what comes out of him. 

As for the boar, yes, it has complicated symbolism in the novels (excellent posts on that, too!). The fact that Borroq looks almost totally like his (ugly) boar, IMO, does not only mean that he has a sort of "boar-like" personality (he probably does) but that the bond between them is very strong. It may even cause him to avoid human society and choose the boar instead. That, in my eyes, makes it somewhat less likely that he would want another animal. But then again who knows... 

Edited by Julia H.
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Another yummy post!  :cheers:  Put my comments purple.   :) 

 

33 minutes ago, Julia H. said:

This is a very interesting topic and a very good discussion. I think Borroq will be important later on. His arrival in Castle Black places a lot of emphasis on this character, being a skinchanger, the last one to enter, calling Jon "brother".

As for what his role will be... There are some very convincing posts above on how Borroq may become important. For my part though, I would like to speculate on how we, readers, are meant to react to him.

Borroq definitely does not seem to be a nice guy. To start with, he is extremely ugly. 

"Borroq looked so much like his boar that all he lacked was tusks," as Varamyr thinks. According to Jon, the man is "no beauty", he has an ugly smile, Jon notices how ugly the boar is even for a boar (and Borroq looks like his boar).  GRRM knows ugly, see; Tyrion, Sandor, Brienne the Beauty and Sam.

Tormund does not seem to like him. This can be simply because Borroq is a skinchanger or because of other reasons. Apparently, even skinchangers have biases (justified or not, we don't know) against other skinchangers. Again, Varamyr's recollections:  When Tormund met Jon Snow he said ""Well met, Jon Snow. I am fond owargs, as it happens, though not o' Starks."  Is he also not fond of skinchangers?

So, according to Haggon, another wildling skinchanger, boars are among the "skins" that should be left alone due to what skinchangers bonded to them might become. Since Haggon was apparently a much better person than his pupil, Varamyr, we should probably listen to his opinion on quesions of skinchanger morality.

Then, there is also Ghost. He apparently does not like Borroq or his boar, or maybe either, which causes some tension in Castle Black. That should put Jon and us on our guard.   Good call from yourself and Evolett. 

In addition, Borroq's clearly does not possess an engaging manner. Although he calls Jon "brother" at first (skinchangers apparently recognize each other, Jon certainly does recognize him at first sight), he also calls him a "crow" and Ghost a "dog" in the Shieldhall:  Cranky old bastard, he is.

Not exactly respectful, is he?  You might say, he bristled at Jon went he went through the Wall.  However, he may have thought calling Jon 'brother' would garner a warmer welcome.  

There is also his strange habit of dwelling in a tomb, in the Shieldhall standing in a dark corner - enough to cause suspicion. In addition, Othell Yarwyck suspects him of bad intentions.   

Against all this, what is in his favour? It is that one word when he calls Jon "brother". What does that mean? Is this the usual greeting among skinchangers? We don't know, but Borroq does not seem to be the kind who is much concerned about the polite formalities of social interaction. Is it a sign that he has recognized Jon and that he knows that Jon has recognized him as well? Is it a sign of good will? But then - if it is so - why is he such a suspicious character?  

I don't have a definite answer, but I can imagine that maybe - maybe - Borroq's presentation to the reader is one of the author's little tricks to mislead us, playing on our prejudices.  Might be.  

He is ugly, but when did GRRM ever say that we should judge any character based on the character's degree of beauty? GRRM does like his uglies.  

Haggon warned Varamyr against skinchangers bonded to boars, but how do we know it wasn't just Haggon's own prejudice against certain animals? After all, Varamyr was, like Haggon or the Starks, bonded to wolves, yet, he was anything but a good person. So can you really judge a skinchanger on the basis of his / her animal?  That is a good question and I would say no. 

Tormund does not like Borroq, but do we know how well they know each other or what causes this dislike?  Tormund hasn't discussed why he doesn't like Borroq as far as I remember.

Ghost does not like Borroq / the boar, and that's a tough problem to solve, but even here the author may play with the fact that Ghost cannot explain what exactly his problem is, so there is room for some misunderstanding here between Ghost and Jon.

Borroq's rough way of speaking in the Shieldhall ... It could be explained by a momentary feeling of disappointment when Jon says he is not going to Hardhome with the Watch. Borroq may have emotions after all.  

Then there is his tendency to stay away from people and stay in the dark. I don't know, his staying away from other people may perhaps be due to his willingness to avoid conflicts between his boar and others (including Ghost), which may be caused by bad experience. He is apparently not a popular guy. No doubt, the boar has influenced his personality, and it wasn't good for his social skills. But does that necessarily mean he is a foe rather than a friend?  Good call.  

Othell's opinion is probably not a strong argument against him, since Othell is full of prejudice.  Good call.  

So, what I mean is that Borroq could be read in at least two very different ways, and it is probably not an accident. We will see what comes out of him. Agreed. 

As for the boar, yes, it has complicated symbolism in the novels (excellent posts on that, too!). The fact that Borroq looks almost totally like his (ugly) boar, IMO, does not only mean that he has a sort of "boar-like" personality (he probably does) but that the bond between them is very strong. It may even cause him to avoid human society and choose the boar instead. That, in my eyes, makes it somewhat less likely that he would want another animal. But then again who knows... 

The closest to an info dump on warg/skinchanging has been Veramyr's story.  Finding more info is not easy, but looking for it and asking question s pays off.   

 

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1 hour ago, Julia H. said:

"Borroq looked so much like his boar that all he lacked was tusks,"

This seemed important, so I went looking for characters described as looking like pigs. Many people have pig's eyes (notably, Amory Lorch) and Todder, or Toad, Jon's brother in the Night's Watch. The search site yielded only Kurleket when I look for characters with a pig's face. (He is a Bracken man-at-arms and part of the Three Stooges group that helps Catelyn take Tyrion prisoner at the inn at the crossroads.) Clayton Suggs, a creepy R'hllor fanboy loyal to Stannis, has a winged pig sigil and we know House Crakehall has a boar sigil. 

Nothing really stood out to me in that group, so I had to come back to Ser Piggy (Sam Tarly) as well as Pate the Pig Boy. These characters seem to meet in the late chapters of ADwD. Are they parallel to Borroq and his boar? Both Pate and Sam Tarly have had responsibilities involving ravens. We know that ravens in the faith of the seven can fly back and forth through the door between life and death.

Pate would like to travel around Westeros with Rosie and provide healing services. Sam is traveling around with Gilly (also a flower name) and he tried to restore the health of Maester Aemon but Aemon died. Sam has the broken horn Jon Snow found at the Fist. If it is the horn we suspect it might be, it has he power to bring down the Wall. 

We believe that Pate has been manipulated by a Faceless Man who calls himself the Alchemist. In return for a coin, he provides the man with an important key he has taken from an archmaester. 

Could Borroq hold some kind of "key" that will be important in TWoW? It may not be a literal key. As you point out, two of the people who don't like Borroq are Othell Yarwick and Tormund Giantsbane. There is door and horn symbolism around Tormund. Othell is the chief builder of the Night's Watch. Maybe they don't like Borroq because he is going to "open a door" that they prefer to keep closed. Or bring down the Wall?

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Thank you @Julia H. for offering a more differentiated and balanced view on Borroq. Your comment prompted me to do some more digging but there is so much to the boar, it's hard to come to definite conclusions. 

  

On 7/24/2022 at 8:09 PM, LongRider said:

This implies that the message ravens were warged at the time of speaking the message.  If BR or Bran are warging Mormont's raven, I think it's likely that they are sharing the bird with a Cof 2nd life.  The NW has been spied on by warged ravens for centuries!  It's just not the trees who have eyes.    :ph34r:      Also, this explains why CH cold talk to the ravens.

Goodness, yes, lol. Naughty little CotF :D.

 

On 7/24/2022 at 8:09 PM, LongRider said:

GRRM reveals more about warging in Bran III, ADWD   

Quote

"Someone else was in the raven," he told Lord Brynden, once he had returned to his own skin. "Some girl. I felt her."
"A woman, of those who sing the song of earth," his teacher said. "Long dead, yet a part of her remains, just as a part of you would remain in Summer if your boy's flesh were to die upon the morrow. A shadow on the soul. She will not harm you."

And, if the man's memory fades when in the wolf, it may take a long time as it seems indicated by BRs comments above to Bran.  However, this also shows, again, that a beast who is carrying a 2nd life can also be warged by another at that time as well, as Bran is doing when he wargs the ravens. 

This is actually quite mind-boggling because no raven would live that long. It suggests that second life spirits are transferred from one generation to the next. Presumably through the eggs of the birds. And it confirms something I've been looking at for quite a while - that ancestral souls can be reborn in descendants. It could be significant that the author shows us two bird species as second-life examples.

Now that you highlight this, I feel more confident in voicing my suspicions regarding Varamyr's wolf One-Eye being a hint to the second-life soul of Jonnel Stark, one time Lord of Winterfell after Aegon's conquest. Jonnel was also known as One-Eye. If Jonnel is a hint to this phenomenon, then Ghost doesn't carry this name only because he's a white wolf. He's always been on my list of potential bearers of ancestral souls. And this brings me to something that only penetrated my awareness while discussing this topic. 

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The direwolf had no answer, but he licked Jon’s face with a tongue like a wet rasp, and his eyes caught the last light and shone like two great red suns. Red eyes, Jon realized, but not like Melisandre’s. He had a weirwood’s eyes. Red eyes, red mouth, white fur. Blood and bone, like a heart tree. He belongs to the old gods, this one.

 

I think this suggests Ghost is a "greenseer wolf," that the second-life within him was a greenseer and that a warg whose soul mingles with this greenseer's spirit will be able to access all the knowledge gathered by that ancient greenseer. Perhaps also look through Ghost's eyes and see the present and future. Knowledge of the past is vital especially since neither the North nor the NW "remembers" and Jon Snow "knows nothing," (you know nothing, Jon Snow). There is evidence for Ghost as a "greenseer wolf" as well, coming to think of it. During one of Jon's wolf dreams, he sees Shaggy battling a unicorn. Through Ghost, he actually sees this in the dream

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A wild rain lashed down upon his black brother as he tore at the flesh of an enormous goat, washing the blood from his side where the goat's long horn had raked him.

—dreams of Jon Snow as Ghost

In another wolf dream Jon/Ghost appears to see inside Bran's cave:

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“Snow,” the moon insisted. The white wolf ran from it, racing toward the cave of night where the sun had hidden, his breath frosting in the air.

[….]

On the other side the wind was colder still, the wolf sensed. That was where his brother was, the grey brother who smelled of summer.

 This isn't only sensing, it's actual seeing, wow. 

So this is probably what makes Ghost so special, offering a second life worthy of a king. We can speculate on which "king" is residing in Ghost. I may have to rethink Jon not warging Ghost, yet if Jonnel Stark is a clue, then his spirit has been passed down a number of wolf generations with seemingly no change or escape to another animal, same for the ravens, reflecting the idea that once a second life has begun in an animal, it's final. If Jon is dead, would warging Ghost temporarily be sufficient to download the greenseer spirits knowledge? It's another matter if Jon is not dead and can be healed. I'm still holding on to the idea that Borroq is up to no good. But perhaps there is a twist to all this - just speculating for sure. 

There is Val to consider:

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Then Ghost emerged from between two trees, with Val beside him. They look as though they belong together. Val was clad all in white; white woolen breeches tucked into high boots of bleached white leather, white bearskin cloak pinned at the shoulder with a carved weirwood face, white tunic with bone fastenings. Her breath was white as well … but her eyes were blue, her long braid the color of dark honey, her cheeks flushed red from the cold. It had been a long while since Jon Snow had seen a sight so lovely. “Have you been trying to steal my wolf?” he asked her. “Why not? If every woman had a direwolf, men would be much sweeter. Even crows.”

 

Val and Ghost, all in white, look as though they belong together; she wears a weirwood clasp and Jon asks if Val is trying to steal his wolf. When Jon sends her to look for Tormund, he gives her a horse blind in one eye or a one-eyed horse. Could Val be the one to end up within Ghost? This would make sense if Jon is dead and second-lifing is final. Recall also Patchface's "under the sea, the crows are white as snow." He says this to Jon. We know crows can be greenseers (three-eyed-crow) and Ghost is white as snow, but so is Val in her all white leather outfit and bearskin cloak pinned by a weirwood clasp. And the white bearskin cloak carries special significance, I would say. Longclaw once had a carved bear head before LC Mormont had it fitted with a wolf's head meant to depict Ghost. In view of the above, this could be telling us that the greenseer spirit living within Ghost was once a "bear character." Would the greenseer want to reunite with the "bear," i.e. Val?

 

 

Edited by Evolett
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21 hours ago, Seams said:

Maybe they don't like Borroq because he is going to "open a door" that they prefer to keep closed. Or bring down the Wall?

The following citation probably relates to the idea of "opening a door.":

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And so long as Borroq and his boar are about, I dare not let him loose.” The skinchanger was to accompany Soren Shieldbreaker to Stonedoor once the wayns carrying the Sealskinner’s clan to Greenguard returned.

 

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@Evolett wrote an intriguing post.  

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Goodness, yes, lol. Naughty little CotF :D.  Evolett giggled.

All our suspicions of warged ravens in the NW are true!  And, the ravens can speak words, does BR/Bran give them words to say?

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Evolett declared "This is actually quite mind-boggling because no raven would live that long. It suggests that second life spirits are transferred from one generation to the next. Presumably through the eggs of the birds. And it confirms something I've been looking at for quite a while - that ancestral souls can be reborn in descendants. It could be significant that the author shows us two bird species as second-life examples"

I like this because it extends the sphere of the beasts with second lives inside them.  Haggon told Varamyr "but every day his memory fades, and the beast becomes a little less a warg, a little more a wolf, until nothing of the man is left and only the beast remains."...ADWD - Prologue.  But, BR tells us different.  Could this be due to CoF/Old Gods magic?  Could the singers bring their 2nd life birds a much longer life and the spirit in the bird not fade like Haggon informed us?  Mormont's raven is described as an old bird.      (squirming like a puppy, this is fun!)

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Evolett suggested "I think this suggests Ghost is a "greenseer wolf," that the second-life within him was a greenseer and that a warg whose soul mingles with this greenseer's spirit will be able to access all the knowledge gathered by that ancient greenseer. Perhaps also look through Ghost's eyes and see the present and future."

Ghost, greenseer wolf!   :bowdown:   BR or the 3EC (I think they are the same but YMMV) reached out to Bran, and Ghost the greenseer wolf, reached out to Jon when the wolf puppies were found.  

 

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Evolett noted:  It's another matter if Jon is not dead and can be healed. 

Could be a twist, but I think the twist is Jon is alive, and if he does warg ghost, in his injured and hurting self, he might finally be open to it, and if so, boy is he in for a surprise!

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Evolett said :"Val and Ghost, all in white, look as though they belong together; she wears a weirwood clasp and Jon asks if Val is trying to steal his wolf......

She's very intelligent, so of course she would!  She surely knows more warg lore than Jon does and could have warged Ghost at some time.  Jon notes that they look like they belong together....yup!

Evolett really enjoyed this posting, thanks!   :cheers:

edt:  forgot to mention, cranky old Borroq, I just don't know which way he'll flop.  

multi quote why won't you work for me!   :(

Edited by LongRider
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I'm not really sure what to make of Borroq and his boar at this point.  I imagine the danger of bonding with that animal is that the skinchanger can take on too many of the aggressive and dangerous characteristics of the boar.  They have an unpredictable nature and Borroq is certainly being presented as an ominous figure.  

I'm not sure that Borroq covets Ghost for himself.  I think the nature of the boar is to kill the direwolf, it's natural enemy, but Borroq seems to want to keep them apart.  Like his boar; he doesn't like Ghost much.

I wonder what advantages there are to having a boar as a familiar.  Their eyesight is poor but their sense of smell and hearing is very keen.  

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A Dance with Dragons - Jon XIII

"It is those duties I would speak of." She made her way down, the hem of her scarlet skirts swishing over the steps. It almost seemed as if she floated. "Where is your direwolf?"

"Asleep in my chambers. Her Grace does not allow Ghost in her presence. She claims he scares the princess. And so long as Borroq and his boar are about, I dare not let him loose." The skinchanger was to accompany Soren Shieldbreaker to Stonedoor once the wayns carrying the Sealskinner's clan to Greenguard returned. Until such time, Borroq had taken up residence in one of the ancient tombs beside the castle lichyard. The company of men long dead seemed to suit him better than that of the living, and his boar seemed happy rooting amongst the graves, well away from other animals. "That thing is the size of a bull, with tusks as long as swords. Ghost would go after him if he were loose, and one or both of them would not survive the meeting."

 

This association with graveyards and ancient tombs is curious.  So I wonder if Mance used Borroq and his boar to search for graves when they were looking for the Horn of Winter.  Ygritte frets about the number of graves they opened -- how did they find them?  Perhaps Borroq boar is a cadaver pig and he can smell the dead.  That would certainly be offputting to someone like Tormund, in spite of their objective.

Borroq is certainly concerned about the fate of the Wildlings at Hardhome.  I doubt Varamayr would have any such concern other than for his own skin.  So I'm not expecting Borroq to be motivated in the same way as Varamyr.  He may turn out to be less like Varamyr and more like Haggon in spite of Haggon's warning about boars.  It may be that only an exceptionally strong skinchanger can control a boar without losing his humanity.

The association with ancient tombs and graveyards puts me in mind of the supernatural symbolism of the boar with the otherworld and afterlife.

https://symbolsage.com/celtic-boar-symbolism-meaning/

 

 

Borroq and Tormund seem to have some kind of history and I wonder if they will come into conflict over what to do next and who is in charge.

Edited by LynnS
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On 7/27/2022 at 10:38 AM, LynnS said:

This association with graveyards and ancient tombs is curious.  So I wonder if Mance used Borroq and his boar to search for graves when they were looking for the Horn of Winter.  Ygritte frets about the number of graves they opened -- how did they find them?  Perhaps Borroq boar is a cadaver pig and he can smell the dead.  That would certainly be offputting to someone like Tormund, in spite of their objective.

This is a great observation. I've since researched a bit more on boars and pigs and boars are indeed fond of digging up graves in cemeteries. Because of their burrowing habits, they are also quite destructive to crops, ploughing through fields to get at roots and tubers beneath the soil. There's also the Greek myth about the Calydonian Boar sent by Artemis to ravage the landscape because a king had failed to honour her properly. It took several heros to bring him down. After checking on all boar mentions in the books, I still can't exactly figure out its significance. There are boars and boar-killers. There are characters that are "boars" and at the same time boar-killers, like Robert. Ramsay disguised as Reek takes along a boar-spear to hunt down Bran and Rickon. Jon bleeds like a boar after Orell's eagle attacks him. There are a few interesting quotes involving Cersei:

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Lancel, Cersei thought. “Robert was killed by a boar. Do they say I am a skinchanger now? A warg?

 

Taena gave a shudder. She gasped some words in a foreign tongue, then shuddered again and arched her back and screamed. She sounds as if she is being gored, the queen thought. For a moment she let herself imagine that her fingers were a bore’s tusks, ripping the Myrish woman apart from groin to throat.

 

It was sort of a funny song, all about Robert fighting with a pig. The pig was the boar who’d killed him, Sansa knew, but in some verses it almost sounded as if he were singing about the queen.

 

And here we have Stannis with a thought similar to Cersei's:

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Stannis ground his teeth. “If someone said I had magicked myself into a boar to kill Robert, likely they would believe that as well.”

I'm not sure what to make of all this.

 

On 7/25/2022 at 2:02 AM, Seams said:

Nothing really stood out to me in that group, so I had to come back to Ser Piggy (Sam Tarly) as well as Pate the Pig Boy. These characters seem to meet in the late chapters of ADwD. Are they parallel to Borroq and his boar? Both Pate and Sam Tarly have had responsibilities involving ravens. We know that ravens in the faith of the seven can fly back and forth through the door between life and death.

What I noticed with Sam, Pate and Tyrion (rider of the pig), is all three are assoicated with learning and acquiring knowledge. @Mourning Star earlier pointed out the significance of domesticated vrs. wild animals as in pig/boar or dogs/wolves. It's possible that while pigs are related to worldly knowledge, the boar might be associated with arcane knowledge. Arcane "knowledge" would apply to skinchanging, methinks and there is a bit of support for that if Robb or the Stark kids are "boars." Ramsay goes hunting Bran and Rickon with a boar spear in hand, Robb is bound to Greywind, Jon who bleeds like a butchered boar to Ghost. Stannis and Cersei talk about skinchanging boars. Borroq skinchanges his boar. If he's also a knowledge seeker, and Ghost harbours an ancestral spirit that his boar can "sniff out," then maybe Borroq may be seeking some ancient wisdom as opposed to a second life. 

 

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Should we be looking at this kind of "bore" along with "boar"? Ned's word choice here could be foreshadowing (because Robert will be killed by a boar) and/or a hint about how Lyanna died - did Robert send a "boar" after her the way a boar will play a key role in his own death?

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"Stop them," Sansa pleaded, "don't let them do it, please, please, it wasn't Lady, it was Nymeria, Arya did it, you can't, it wasn't Lady, don't let them hurt Lady, I'll make her be good, I promise, I promise …" She started to cry.

All Ned could do was take her in his arms and hold her while she wept. He looked across the room at Robert. His old friend, closer than any brother. "Please, Robert. For the love you bear me. For the love you bore my sister. Please."

The king looked at them for a long moment, then turned his eyes on his wife. "Damn you, Cersei," he said with loathing.

AGoT, Eddard III

I can't reconcile House Crakehall with the idea that boars represent acquiring knowledge. Is anyone learned in the history of House Crakehall?

I think Gatehouse Ami (Amerei Frey) really does play some kind of gatekeeper function. Tywin wanted Lancel to control that gate for House Lannister, but it appears that Ami is going to be a solo agent, heading her own household. She is manipulating Lyle Crakehall into hunting down the Hound - more pig / dog conflict. Is Ami the "rider" of the pig? If so, who will ride the dog?

Crakehall also wants to hunt Ser Beric Dondarrion. This is interesting because Ser Beric is sworn to King Robert, even after Robert has been long dead. Is this a replay of the boar that killed Robert? Of course, Lyle appears to be too late. 

At the tourney at Lannisport, celebrating the victory of Robert over Balon Greyjoy, Lyle Crakehall was defeated by Jorah Mormont. Bear defeats boar. 

Edited by Seams
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6 hours ago, Evolett said:

This is a great observation. I've since researched a bit more on boars and pigs and boars are indeed fond of digging up graves in cemeteries

Interesting as the boar is described as happily rooting in the litchyard.

 

6 hours ago, Evolett said:

It's possible that while pigs are related to worldly knowledge, the boar might be associated with arcane knowledge. Arcane "knowledge" would apply to skinchanging

Oh I hope the boar digs something up!   The Horn of Joramun, Craster's Boys, Benjen?  :eek: 

Seriously though, what if he roots up something interesting?   

Edited by LongRider
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17 hours ago, LongRider said:
On 7/31/2022 at 12:24 PM, Evolett said:

This is a great observation. I've since researched a bit more on boars and pigs and boars are indeed fond of digging up graves in cemeteries

Interesting as the boar is described as happily rooting in the litchyard.

This is also interesting in the continuing "boar vs. hound" pairing of opposites. If The Hound has really been "reborn" as the Gravedigger on the Quiet Isle, he is (apparently) digging graves in order to bury bodies that wash up on the island. But here is a boar that digs up graves.

Maybe two kinds of contrasting underworld gods? One that keeps bodies in their resting places and another that disinters them for . . . ?

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I don't think I'm that far off regarding the boar's association with arcane knowledge or with the magical in general. Cersei and Stannis both speak of  themselves in terms of skinchanging a boar to show  their displeasure over accusations of killing Robert and both are influenced by knowledge derived from magic. Cersei is driven by Maggy the Frog's prophecy, Stannis has Mel's strong magical influence on his side.
Borroq's boar roots around in the lichyard and LynnS suggests the boar was instrumental in finding graves in the Frostfangs. They found lots of graves but also a great horn. Boars have an excellent sense of smell and  along with some of the other boar references we've seen (some magical characters being symbolic boars), I now suspect the association points to boars being able to sniff out hidden magical objects or people as well as the dead.

It seems significant that the author uses the archaic term "lichyard" instead of "cemetery."  "Lich" originally meant a corpse / dead body. Later the term was used for the undead as well and with the advent of video games, the  lich diverged from the classical mindless zombie to be depicted as an undead being that retains its intelligence and magical abilities, usually also holding power over undead servants. Lich has alternative spellings including "lych" and "lyke."

23 hours ago, Seams said:

I can't reconcile House Crakehall with the idea that boars represent acquiring knowledge.

Not knowledge, no, but if I'm right,  then Strongboar's desire to hunt Beric Dondarrion is based symbolically on the boar's ability to sniff out the (un)dead and most likely the magic behind that too. Strongboar goes by the name of "Lyle," suspiciously close to the archaic "lyke" spelling of "lich." The Hound too has "rising from the dead" connotations surrounding him, being declared dead but alive at the Quiet Isle, his helm living on and apparently influencing other characters etc.  

 

 

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If a second life is seen as a "final" condition with the skinchanger/warg in question losing their ability to move between bodies, perhaps it would be an idea worth mentioning to suggest that Borroq could force Jon out of Ghost (like Varamyr did to Haggon) but only do so after his body is resurrected with fire magic or otherwise healed.

I think such a development would for its own part justify the resurrection and cadaver imagery associated with him, and if one assumes that the deed would be both risky, unusual and traumatic to both Ghost and Jon, it could also "justify" why Ghost reacts badly... if he reacts to the man or the pair rather than the boar alone. Also, if Borroq were to be instrumental in resurrecting a character as vital as Jon, it obviously would explain the focus he has received.

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1 hour ago, Ivan Tsarevich said:

If a second life is seen as a "final" condition with the skinchanger/warg in question losing their ability to move between bodies, perhaps it would be an idea worth mentioning to suggest that Borroq could force Jon out of Ghost (like Varamyr did to Haggon) but only do so after his body is resurrected with fire magic or otherwise healed.

Yes, that's a real possibility, especially since Varamyr's example shows us that fire magic does not affect the wolf-man bond. He lost Orell's eagle after Mel's attack but retained his wolves. 

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