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Is the Wall just a barrier? What may be its secondary purpose, if any?


Sandy Clegg
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Coming off the back of a puns/wordplay re-read, I was reading the Bran chapter where the Reeds describe the sigil of Theo Wull (known interestingly as just The WullI, rather similar to 'the Wall') as being 3 buckets on a blue background, bordered with white/grey. The Wull's nickname was also "Buckets". Reading this as a bit of 'Wall' symbolism, could it be implying that the Wall is itself not merely a barrier, but also a container? At the end of ADWD we see Jon looking through the cavernous food stores underneath the wall, which also bring to mind Wall-as-container imagery. Does the Wall contain spells which prevent Others from crossing? Or is it something buried deep within the Wall which contains the magic that wards them off?

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1 hour ago, Sandy Clegg said:

Coming off the back of a puns/wordplay re-read, I was reading the Bran chapter where the Reeds describe the sigil of Theo Wull (known interestingly as just The WullI, rather similar to 'the Wall') as being 3 buckets on a blue background, bordered with white/grey. The Wull's nickname was also "Buckets".

Maybe Wull is related to the Wall in terms of a container, haven't really thought about  that. The buckets align with "well," so that's the wordplay I've been considering, wull / well. We know babies were thrown down wells and suspect the act to have been a sacrifice in some cases. Hugo Wull (known as Big Bucket) is said to have the biggest belly in the northern mountains, reminding me of pregnancy and babies. That he's also willing to die fighting for Ned's little girl can be interpreted as a sacrifice he's happy to make. Big Bucket could be a reference to a big belly or a large baby, an especially worthy sacrifice. It would not surprise me if the northern clans still uphold these ancient rites. 
So that's my reading on the wull/bucket combination. 

But Wall / wull works too if we look at members of the NW in terms of sacrifices to ensure the safety of the realm. Or the "bucket" as a means of retrieving or activating the magic buried in the Wall. Patchface's crown is made up of a bucket fixed with antlers and bells, thus the bucket could be connected to royalty and / or to horned god symbolism (and we know sacrifices were made to the darker aspect of Garth the Green). 

ETA - if wull/wall/well are a thing connected to sacrifice and buckets are symbolic babies, we do have a baby at the Wall at this point in time. Craster's blood could be royal. Perhaps his son will have to be sacrificed to activate the deeper magic of the Wall. 

Edited by Evolett
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15 minutes ago, Evolett said:

ETA - if wull/wall/well are a thing connected to sacrifice and buckets are symbolic babies, we do have a baby at the Wall at this point in time. Craster's blood could be royal. Perhaps his son will have to be sacrificed to activate the deeper magic of the Wall. 

Gilly said the Others come for the babies because they have "the stink 'o life' about them.  The baby has been hunted by wights at Whitetree, north of the Wall already. Coldhands saved the baby along with Gilly and Sam.  Was saving the baby now known as Monster part of his errand?  What about the sending the baby through the magic Black Gate? 

Now Val who perhaps is a healer has named the baby, Monster.  What's in a name?   

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25 minutes ago, Evolett said:

Hugo Wull (known as Big Bucket) is said to have the biggest belly in the northern mountains, reminding me of pregnancy and babies.

This is one of George’s favourite tricks isn’t it - linking concepts together via names and analogy. Buckets and bellies get linked via this name above, and  buckets and wall/wull likewise. Which in turn links walls/bellies by one removed association. 1 - 2 -3.
 

I think this is (partly) what George means when he says he plants seeds as a gardener-style writer. Forging potential associations via names and sigils, etc. We might see these seed-associations bear fruit in future books, or possibly not. But it’s definitely a technique he likes to employ. 

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19 Craster wives (19 corpse queens), 19 forts at the Wall, 19 dragon skulls.

It's warded with spells same way as the walls of Storm's End (it's one of the reasons that George wrote that Bran the Builder was involved in the building of both the Wall and SE). Shadows cannot pass - not shadow assassins, not white shadows, not wights or ghouls, and dragons cannot fly over. So, basically neither magical fire nor ice creatures can pass.

fire worms and (ice) spiders mutters Dolorous Edd. Everlasting bloody war between the acolytes of the spider goddess and the serpent god. Others and dragons are mortal enemies of one another, bent on destroying one another, and the realm of men gets squashed in between. It's meant to separate these two opposing magical eternal enemies.

It has one other use: the Others use it as a spyglass to spy on the NW, who's coming, who's going. Ice = eyes

ETA: the NW does not sacrifice babies to the Others. The guy who did that at the Wall was the NK, a few centuries after the LN. When Brandon the Breaker Stark and Joramun discovered he committed human sacrifice, they considered it such a foul thing they obliterated his name from history. (So much for FM and old gods followers being human sacrifice fans millenia ago)

Edited by sweetsunray
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6 minutes ago, sweetsunray said:

19 Craster wives (19 corpse queens), 19 forts at the Wall, 19 dragon skulls.

The Quran has the 19 angels of Hell. 19 angels that guard Hell, aka “angels of punishment", the "Guardians of Hell", "wardens of hell", "angels of hell”. 

 

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1 hour ago, sweetsunray said:

fire worms and (ice) spiders mutters Dolorous Edd. Everlasting bloody war between the acolytes of the spider goddess and the serpent god. Others and dragons are mortal enemies of one another, bent on destroying one another, and the realm of men gets squashed in between. It's meant to separate these two opposing magical eternal enemies.

This duality of the Wall's power is hinted at in the structure of the Wall itself:

Quote

He had once heard his uncle Benjen say that the Wall was a sword east of Castle Black, but a snake to the west. 

 

4 hours ago, LongRider said:

Coldhands saved the baby along with Gilly and Sam.  Was saving the baby now known as Monster part of his errand?  What about the sending the baby through the magic Black Gate? 

My feeling is baby Monster and Jon Snow are the sacrifices of opposing parties placed at the Wall. Jon's blood has already been shed and I fear Monster will share the same fate.

4 hours ago, LongRider said:

Now Val who perhaps is a healer has named the baby, Monster.  What's in a name?   

Val is the one who advocates killing children who have suffered greyscale, as we see with her opinion on Shireen.  It suggests she wouldn't hesitate to eliminate a child, even a baby, if she discovers him to be dangerous in some way.
We've already seen the Wall acting as a barrier to dragons and skinchanging, as pointed out above. If the sword and the snake are symbols representing the spider goddess and the serpent god (or opposing forces of ice and fire for those who don't believe in ancient tales), deactivating the anti "sword" and "snake" magic may be the purpose of the sacrifices of Jon and Monster at the Wall. Both are symbolically "smuggled" to take up their positions at the Wall. Jon of fire heritage (Lyanna's wolf-blood is also a fire property, imo), "disguised" as a Stark associated with the icy North and little Monster, designated as a sacrifice to the icy Others, smuggled through the Black Gate with the help of Sam and Coldhands. Together, their blood may bring down the Wall, no Horn of Joranum needed. 

Edited by Evolett
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