Evolett Posted February 6 Share Posted February 6 (edited) We all know Ser Waymar failed to hold his own against the Others and that his sword was no match for the icy weapon wielded by his opponent. Right from the beginning, doubt is cast on Waymar’s sword. It is new and shiny and has probably never been swung in anger, suggesting Waymar has not had much practice with it. It stands in contrast to Gared’s knife and experience: Quote For a moment, he was afraid the older man would go for his sword. It was a short, ugly thing, its grip discolored by sweat, its edge nicked from hard use, but Will would not have given an iron bob for the lordling’s life if Gared pulled it from its scabbard. Will warns that the sword will tangle Waymar up and advises using a knife instead. Reaching branches grab on the longsword and tug on the knight’s sable cloak. It’s almost as if the trees try to hold him back too, but he presses on, slashing at a branch as if as disdainful of the forest’s warnings as he is his of his brothers’ concerns. Events unfold as they do. But what if the means to victory was literally lying at Waymar’s feet? In the prologue chapter, our attention is drawn to a large iron double-bladed axe, twice in fact: Quote “Did you see any blood?” “Well, no,” Will admitted. “Did you see any weapons?” “Some swords, a few bows. One man had an axe. Heavy-looking, double-bladed, a cruel piece of iron. It was on the ground beside him, right by his hand.” The unfortunate wildlings obviously had no opportunity to use their weapons. They died of the freezing cold accompanying the Others before they could even try. When Gared, Will and Waymar inspect the camp, the battle-axe is still there, lying prominently in the middle of the now deserted camp: Quote “Your dead men seem to have moved camp, Will.” Will’s voice abandoned him. He groped for words that did not come. It was not possible. His eyes swept back and forth over the abandoned campsite, stopped on the axe. A huge double-bladed battle-axe, still lying where he had seen it last, untouched. A valuable weapon … A valuable weapon. An iron weapon. The Others hate iron, do they not? Would Waymar have defeated the Other with this weapon? Change of scene. Craster wants a new axe from Mormont in return for his “hospitality” and news. Mormont obliges, presenting it to him as a guest gift. Dolorous Edd is told to bring the axe: Quote Give the wildling an axe, why not?” He pointed out Mormont’s weapon, a short- hafted battleaxe with gold scrollwork inlaid on the black steel blade. Before this, Mormont gives an account of the wighted brothers who rose and attacked at Castle Black. Right after this, Craster says he needs a new sharp axe and his response strikes me as somewhat ambiguous (note my colour-coding): Quote I’m a godly man, and the gods keep me safe. If wights come walking, I’ll know how to send them back to their graves. Though I could use me a sharp new axe.” Wights keep going even when dismembered. We’ve even seen severed undead hands moving. Craster knows that fire is the best defence as well as Mormont now does, and that even a sharp axe will not keep a horde of wights at bay for long. Mormont’s battleaxe is of black steel with gold inlays. It is as much a splendid and valuable weapon as the one left behind by the wildlings. Could Craster desire such a weapon to keep him safe against the Others in case the “cold gods” turn on him? Perhaps when he has nothing more to give? No dogs, no sheep, no babies? What are the properties of black steel? Could it have properties similar to the soul-drinking black weapons of the Ironborn? (Lightbringer was “soul-drinking” too). Notice the colors match the Greyjoy sigil. Scrollwork always features spirals, incomplete circles, often in the form of vines that can be embellished with leaves and flowers, not unlike what one could make of a stylized kraken symbol. Could Mormont have given away two weapons that are effective against the Others? Longclaw to Jon and the battleaxe to Craster? Let’s not forget that Mormont was aware of Craster’s offerings. After Jon tells him what he has learned about Craster’s sons, Mormont replies thus: Quote “The wide world is full of people wanting help, Jon. Would that some could find the courage to help themselves. Craster sprawls in his loft even now, stinking of wine and lost to sense. On his board below lies a sharp new axe. Were it me, I’d name it Answered Prayer and make an end.” Mormont is referring to Craster’s wives here but I think it’s also a hint to the purpose of the valuable battleaxe lying on the ground in the wildling camp. I think that axe would have been Ser Waymar’s “answered prayer.” Aero Hotah’s ash-and-iron wife, the longaxe that he is ritually married to, holds similar symbolism and meaning. Most poignantly, he uses it to behead Ser Arys Oakheart, a white knight. Any symbol-aware reader should have noticed the parallels between white knights of the Kingsguard and the white shadows that are the Others by now. A feature common to the three examples I’ve given is that these axes are all double-bladed. What do you think? Valyrian steel did not exist during the last Long Night. A single blade of dragonsteel is mentioned. With what weapons did the latter-day warriors fight the battle for the Dawn? Did at least some of them wield black iron weapons, crafted perhaps by the Ironborn who have been mining iron ore and smithing for thousands of years? Is this why iron (and bronze) are metals dark and strong to fight against the cold? Robb’s crown looked much as the other was said to have looked in the tales told of the Stark kings of old; an open circlet of hammered bronze incised with the runes of the First Men, surmounted by nine black iron spikes wrought in the shape of longswords. Of gold and silver and gemstones, it had none; bronze and iron were the metals of winter, dark and strong to fight against the cold. Edited February 6 by Evolett Craving Peaches, Aejohn the Conqueroo, Phylum of Alexandria and 1 other 4 Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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