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Will we ever see the ultimate abomination - a character getting warged during their own POV?


Sandy Clegg
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The thought of a skinchanger invading the mind one of our Point Of View characters, mid-chapter as it were, gives me the creeps on a huge scale (but in a delicious 'horror fiction fan' kind of way).

We've already seen how Hodor shrinks into his psyche when Bran wargs into him. However, we have yet to see this process from the other perspective. The mind being invaded, and a new 'narrative voice' suddenly appearing. The more I think about the way GRRM has set up his POV narrative system, and with the prologue of ADWD focusing so heavily on the 'humans warging into humans' aspect, it feels like this is inevitably going to happen.

It really would be the ultimate abomination - and if so, I think it's likely to be done by Euron (hopefully not Bran). But whose POV might get 'invaded' ... and how might GRRM present it? Any thoughts?

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2 minutes ago, Sandy Clegg said:

The thought of a skinchanger invading the mind one of our Point Of View characters, mid-chapter as it were, gives me the creeps on a huge scale (but in a delicious 'horror fiction fan' kind of way).

We've already seen how Hodor shrinks into his psyche when Bran wargs into him. However, we have yet to see this process from the other perspective. The mind being invaded, and a new 'narrative voice' suddenly appearing. The more I think about the way GRRM has set up his POV narrative system, and with the prologue of ADWD focusing so heavily on the 'humans warging into humans' aspect, it feels like this is inevitably going to happen.

It really would be the ultimate abomination - and if so, I think it's likely to be done by Euron (hopefully not Bran). But whose POV might get 'invaded' ... and how might GRRM present it? Any thoughts?

Well, we might get an epilogue or a prologue character in this scenario, but it just doesn't feel that way (to me). I would say Areo Hotah because he's the least fleshed out POV person, he already feels empty. Or Aeron Greyjoy. That goes for Euron. 

I'm wondering wether it's possible to skinchange in Dorne tho, since there are no weirwood trees there. Even from a distance.

But I guess Bran could easily slip deeper in this hole too. He's already entered, and he doesn't seem to be told any different by Brynden, who also may not know about this 'taboo' either. In Bran's case, it would probably be Theon, if we talk of a POV. There isn't really another candidate beside him and Ser Davos. In the latter's case, there doesn't seem to be a point, and Asha or Melisandre? Meh.

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38 minutes ago, Daeron the Daring said:

Well, we might get an epilogue or a prologue character in this scenario, but it just doesn't feel that way (to me). I would say Areo Hotah because he's the least fleshed out POV person, he already feels empty. Or Aeron Greyjoy. That goes for Euron. 

I'm wondering wether it's possible to skinchange in Dorne tho, since there are no weirwood trees there. Even from a distance.

But I guess Bran could easily slip deeper in this hole too. He's already entered, and he doesn't seem to be told any different by Brynden, who also may not know about this 'taboo' either. In Bran's case, it would probably be Theon, if we talk of a POV. There isn't really another candidate beside him and Ser Davos. In the latter's case, there doesn't seem to be a point, and Asha or Melisandre? Meh.

I agree, Bran is on a slippery slope when it comes to morality. He has already broken 2 of 3 taboos, not that Bloodraven seems to care (I think he would know because he's connected to the Tree Knowledge Repository thing). Bran has also potentially consumed human flesh not just as Summer, but as himself. The Hodor thing is quite worrying because Bran is consciously aware that it's wrong/causes Hodor much distress, but does it anyway.

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29 minutes ago, Craving Peaches said:

I agree, Bran is on a slippery slope when it comes to morality. He has already broken 2 of 3 taboos, not that Bloodraven seems to care (I think he would know because he's connected to the Tree Knowledge Repository thing).

It might be that this taboo is made up by the wildling society only, who, lacking any greenseers, have a lesser understanding of skinchanging humans. 

One important thing is that Brynden is living around Cotf, who originally had these kinds of magical attributes (and thus should know better and more), yet they don't elaborate on this with Bran.

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Just now, Daeron the Daring said:

One important thing is that Brynden is living around Cotf, who originally had these kinds of magical attributes (and thus should know better and more), yet they don't elaborate on this with Bran

I don't know if the CotF are evil or not but they could have an interest in weakening Bran's morals or something to make sure he has no objections if they ask him to do something questionable for the 'greater good'.

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2 minutes ago, Craving Peaches said:

I don't know if the CotF are evil or not but they could have an interest in weakening Bran's morals or something to make sure he has no objections if they ask him to do something questionable for the 'greater good'.

Well, maybe. Another point suggesting Bran will be lacking a moral education about the new things he'll learn.

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21 minutes ago, BalerionTheCat said:

If it happens to Theon, I believe it would be in an Asha PoV. Theon would not be in a position to tell. And I suppose it must remain mysterious. BTW, if Bran does it to Theon, it would be as much to save his live. Otherwise Stannis will kill him.

As a plot device, I can see it working.

But I feel that, having Bran already as a POV voice, him doing the warging would have less 'chill factor' than if a non-POV character did it. And having Euron's thoughts enter a chapter would definitely be chilling. Plus, we know he has ambitions to use dark magic, and indeed may already be warging his silent crew and the dusky maiden.

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Just now, Daeron the Daring said:

Well, maybe. Another point suggesting Bran will be lacking a moral education about the new things he'll learn.

What concerns me is that there are certain things that one usually just knows are wrong, they feel wrong to do, and that in most cases you don't need to be specifically told about; the incident with Hodor makes me think that Bran's internal sense of morality is failing and with no external authority to back it up it could just go completely...

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1 minute ago, Craving Peaches said:

What concerns me is that there are certain things that one usually just knows are wrong, they feel wrong to do, and that in most cases you don't need to be specifically told about; the incident with Hodor makes me think that Bran's internal sense of morality is failing and with no external authority to back it up it could just go completely...

I don't think it has a chance to make Bran's whole moral compass go nuts. It's just that he becomes a kid who'd grown up without his parents telling him about something wrong that actually is wrong. And it becomes the normal to him.

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Just now, Daeron the Daring said:

I don't think it has a chance to make Bran's whole moral compass go nuts. It's just that he becomes a kid who'd grown up without his parents telling him about something wrong that actually is wrong. And it becomes the normal to him.

Not make his whole moral compass go nuts, but I think he will become increasingly comfortable with doing morally dubious acts and he may become detached emotionally due to spending too much time in the Tree Knowledge Repository Network and seeing people like cogs in a machine rather than real people.

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Bran is angry but composed for the moment. He will lose it after he learns his fall was Jaime’s choice. That will be the moment he flips to the darkness. Strong emotions is the enemy. Love or hate doesn’t matter. It leads to a tragic character pivot that leads to more sorrow and destruction. 

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5 hours ago, Daeron the Daring said:

I'm wondering wether it's possible to skinchange in Dorne tho, since there are no weirwood trees there. Even from a distance.

 

There are weirwood trees in Dorne. Most of them are just in the Red Mountains with maybe one coast at Sunspear and/or the Water Gardens.

Besides, skinchanging is not dependent on weirwood trees. You might need weirwood trees for greenseeing (I don't personally think based on what Bloodraven was telling Bran in his last chapter) but you can skinchange anytime from anywhere.

3 hours ago, Craving Peaches said:

Not make his whole moral compass go nuts, but I think he will become increasingly comfortable with doing morally dubious acts and he may become detached emotionally due to spending too much time in the Tree Knowledge Repository Network and seeing people like cogs in a machine rather than real people.

I agree. Something will happen in the last book that will cause him to decide to soften up and change.

I think it'll be an encounter with the likes of Euron.

4 hours ago, Craving Peaches said:

It sounds horrible...but it also perks my morbid curiosity...Part of me would feel awful reading it but another wants to read it...even though it might haunt me for a while.

Me too.

But I honestly feel like it is going to be necessary. The magic of Martin's world is very underplayed and ambiguous and behind-the-scenes...if this series is going to mean anything to the fantasy and horror genres, then Martin is going to have to get a lot more specific and open about his magic system.

That doesn't just apply to skinchanging. It applies to everything from the hatching and controlling of dragons to shadowbinding to the Others.

5 hours ago, Sandy Clegg said:

The thought of a skinchanger invading the mind one of our Point Of View characters, mid-chapter as it were, gives me the creeps on a huge scale (but in a delicious 'horror fiction fan' kind of way).

We've already seen how Hodor shrinks into his psyche when Bran wargs into him. However, we have yet to see this process from the other perspective. The mind being invaded, and a new 'narrative voice' suddenly appearing. The more I think about the way GRRM has set up his POV narrative system, and with the prologue of ADWD focusing so heavily on the 'humans warging into humans' aspect, it feels like this is inevitably going to happen.

It really would be the ultimate abomination - and if so, I think it's likely to be done by Euron (hopefully not Bran). But whose POV might get 'invaded' ... and how might GRRM present it? Any thoughts?

My first thought? Sansa.

But with Sansa, it'll serve as a trigger for her own skinchanging powers to awaken as she'll be able to fight off the invading skinchanger.

My second thought? Daenerys.

Unfortunately, it's almost guaranteed to happen once with her. She is currently linked to (or will soon be linked to) all of the story's current skinchangers and greenseers: Euron, Bloodraven and the Starks. Besides, Daenerys is the one POV in the story (outside of Bran although maybe Melisandre and Arya not too far behind her) that has to deal with the most powerful and creepy displays of magic.

Outside of them two, I feel like it has to be one of the newer, unscathed POV characters.

Aeron, Melisandre, Samwell, Arianne, Victarion, Jon Connington and Areo. Asha?

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It doesn't appear to work quite that way. Bran isn't aware of Hodor's thoughts nor does Varamyr seem to be aware of Thistle's. In contrast when they're warging the wolves they seem to merge with them. This could be the difference between a forced pairing and a willing one. We didn't get Varamyr's perspective with his bear or his shadowcat, so it is not really possible to tell. It could also be an issue of self awareness. Can you fit two of them? 

There is also the phenomenon of shared senses that Bran and Arya experience with Summer and the cat respectively, while remaining in their bodies. As far as I can tell that is not the case with Hodor. 

One other issue is familiarity. The Starks warg the wolves they raised as puppies. Likewise Bran has known Hodor all his life. In contrast when Bran tried to possess a random eagle nothing happened. Though maybe Bran hadn't practiced his "targeting" yet.

In short there are conditions. And currently the ones who fulfill those conditions are Bran and Theon. At first, I don't think we are going to see any thought sharing, at first, at least. And Bran describes possessing Hodor as wearing a boot that doesn't fit. Theon will probably tell us what it is like to be the boot. 

It could get quite trippy down the line if Bran and Theon connect like Bran and Summer do. 

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20 hours ago, Sandy Clegg said:

We've already seen how Hodor shrinks into his psyche when Bran wargs into him. However, we have yet to see this process from the other perspective. The mind being invaded, and a new 'narrative voice' suddenly appearing

 

I have the feeling this is what Ramsay’s interaction with Theon is actually meant to illustrate. Ramsay does not skinchange Theon but the nutcase tactics he employs to force Theon to suppress, deny and relinquish his identity is comparable to the mental and emotional torture a person whose physical form has been usurped experiences. Like the authentic example provided by Bran taking control of Hodor’s body, Theon is symbolically trapped in a body he no longer has any control over. Physical torture and psycho-terror dominate his waking hours. And he has great difficulty adjusting to “freedom” when his body is symbolically “returned” in order to perform specified jobs.

Amongst the various degrading experiences Theon is subjected to is his reduction to the status of a dog, complete with eating, sleeping and living with them. In the narrative, dogs are very much associated with torture, both physical and psychological. Consider the Cleganes (sigil= 3 dogs). The Hound is GRRM’s example of a classic tormented soul. Gregor not only inflicts pain and suffering on his victims, he becomes victim of the same after being poisoned by Oberyn’s spear. Think of all that screaming. Perhaps he has found a measure of peace in undeath. The parallels here also include a change in identity for all three “dogs.” Clegane becomes Robert Strong, the Hound becomes the Gravedigger, Theon a dog. These three “dogs” are veritable tortured souls. Recall also that dogs are particularly easy to skinchange because they are so close to humans. I’m pretty certain these three symbolic dogs tell us something about skinchanging – about both the victim and the perpetrator.

There is hope for Theon however. He does remember his name, at least the last couple of chapters show him regaining a sense of himself. Names are very important to our identity which is why Theon must strive to overocme the Reek persona. A person who does not know or remember his name has an identity problem.  Besides being simpleminded, Hodor does not recall his true name and is an easy victim for Bran. Quaithe urges Daenerys to remember who she is. Jon Snow often thinks of himself as a bastard with no name. Truth is he does not know his own true name, but has accepted and embraced his alias “Lord Snow,” rather like Hodor accepting Hodor. Very ominous. He’d better find out about R+L=J ASAP.

So yes, I think we’ve sort of had that POV already. Perhaps we’ll have another actual POV as well but if so, I expect it to come through Euron’s arc. That said, we have a character at the Wall just begging to be skinchanged: Patchface. Lost half his wits, lost his true name, has knowledge of a great many important things that he only expresses in terms of “under the sea.” Anyone skinchanging Patchface might be able to tap into the fool’s wisdom :).
Maybe Bran will use him as a vehicle to influence what’s happening at Castle Black. Perhaps Bran will gain info on things long forgotten and unavailable to the Weirnet because they occurred in Essos, and the Arm of Dorne that connected the two continents is no longer there. Spiritually riding Patchface might just allow a skinchanger to hop-frog across the "stepstones" and take a peek at the past. 

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30 minutes ago, Evolett said:

 

I have the feeling this is what Ramsay’s interaction with Theon is actually meant to illustrate. Ramsay does not skinchange Theon but the nutcase tactics he employs to force Theon to suppress, deny and relinquish his identity is comparable to the mental and emotional torture a person whose physical form has been usurped experiences. 

If we consider Joffrey as our ‘Act I’ villain then we have seen how Sansa suffers through her own loss of identity and freedom due to his ordering of her fathers beheading. She is forced to ‘become’ a Lannister by marrying Tyrion. The threats towards her are nothing like what Theon goes through, however, with Ramsay our ‘Act II’ villain. As you say, he goes through physical torture and mutilation and is forced to accept a new identity which cuts down to his very psyche. 
 

Wouldn’t our ‘Act III’ villain follow this pattern, but go even further? Euron is known to be a rapist since he was young - Aeron and Victation’s chapters are proof enough of his ‘transgressive’ nature. 
 

An assault directly into a characters mind would certainly be the culmination of these villainous transgressors, these figures who want to bend and twist others to their will. 

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46 minutes ago, Sandy Clegg said:

Wouldn’t our ‘Act III’ villain follow this pattern, but go even further? Euron is known to be a rapist since he was young - Aeron and Victation’s chapters are proof enough of his ‘transgressive’ nature. 
 

An assault directly into a characters mind would certainly be the culmination of these villainous transgressors, these figures who want to bend and twist others to their will. 

I wonder if that's what the kraken stands for? Coming to think of it I think it is. 10 long arms like strings manipulating the puppets attached. The shadows come to dance. 

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