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Angalin

[Pre-ADwD Spoilers] Bran 1 - Spoilers for ADWD

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Either way, it makes complete sense for a brother (former or no) of the Night's Watch to execute the deserters, which I think the dead guys were. Kind of wicked that he did so a la The Birds.

Did he kill them with his ravens? For some reason I assumed he did it with his blade first and let the ravens pick at the remains. Or maybe he used the ravens to aid in the attack in some way, but it wasn't just the ravens that did in the deserters as a few were missing their heads.

Now I'm wondering why only some had their heads chopped off though? At first I thought maybe he wanted to cut off their heads in an attempt to keep them from coming back as wights. (Have we seen a headless wight yet?) We know he wasn't going to burn the bodies since he obviously can't come in close contact with fire. Or maybe it was a symbolic thing, cutting off the heads of Night's Watch deserters. Shades of Ned beheading Gared. This may lend more credence to the Benjen=Coldhands theory. What does everyone else think?

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As always, I eagerly read through the spoilers, then wish I hadn't. Oh well, that's my own issue.

I am so looking forward to Bran's chapters again and this just whets the appetite. While I am very interested in Coldhands, the Green Seer and the Three-Eyed Crow, I find myself much more interested in the fact that Bran is warging Hodor much more often and easily. I know it's been speculated to death, but to see it thrown out so casually gives me chills (in a good way). I don't know how I feel about it. I hope that George can write it in a way that makes it beneficial to both of them, and with Hodor becoming more comfortable with it, that may be the case. Obviously Bran can't warg him all the time, but I would love for Bran to be able to gain a little bit of his independence back periodically, and I think Hodor can benefit from a broadening of his horizons as well. I hope anyway.

Thanks again for the report.

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On the Cold Hands issue, I've always wanted it to be Benjen. I can't back it up with fact or theory, it's just what I feel and what I want.

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Thanks Jughead! I've been waiting for that chapter for so long....

I think the assertions that the Night's Watch men who were killed were not wights is spot on. The wolves probably wouldn't eat them if they were wightified. Ghost chewed off Jafer Flower's wrist in GoT, but I thought that was more out of anger than hunger, and IIRC the other animals around the group were horrified by the corpse's presence alone.

I think it's significant that Bran is "warging" into Hodor on a regular basis now, and that Hodor is becoming acclimated to it. Not entirely unexpected, but it will certainly be important later IMHO. I didn't expect that to happen so quickly.

I'd like to think that Coldhands is Bloodraven, but I'm not convinced. All those ravens make me think he could be involved somewhere, but who is to say that Coldhands isn't being controlled from afar as well? Maybe BR is the 3EC, or maybe he's hanging on to the second life in that old raven that likes to bother the LCs of the Night's Watch for corn. Jury is still way out on that one.

Is Coldhands Benjen? Not very confident of that either, but I would think that wights keep very little of themselves once they come back. Beric Dondarion lost much of himself after death, but that's likely a different method of resurrection so drawing conclusions from that source may be off base.

I'm glad the scene north of the Wall is portayed as it is in this chapter. Do you think they are travelling up the Milkwater? Seems likely. Not a good place to be at all. Reminds me a bit of Nan's tale of the last hero from GoT. The situation doesn't look good for the Reeds though. I wonder if any of them will make it back at all.

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Did he kill them with his ravens? For some reason I assumed he did it with his blade first and let the ravens pick at the remains. Or maybe he used the ravens to aid in the attack in some way, but it wasn't just the ravens that did in the deserters as a few were missing their heads.

Now I'm wondering why only some had their heads chopped off though? At first I thought maybe he wanted to cut off their heads in an attempt to keep them from coming back as wights. (Have we seen a headless wight yet?) We know he wasn't going to burn the bodies since he obviously can't come in close contact with fire. Or maybe it was a symbolic thing, cutting off the heads of Night's Watch deserters. Shades of Ned beheading Gared. This may lend more credence to the Benjen=Coldhands theory. What does everyone else think?

I thought their heads had been ripped off by the wolves. Not sure. If coldhands did chop off their heads, I bet he used the ravens to at least peck out their eyes, the way he did with the wights.

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Is Coldhands Benjen? Not very confident of that either, but I would think that wights keep very little of themselves once they come back. Beric Dondarion lost much of himself after death, but that's likely a different method of resurrection so drawing conclusions from that source may be off base.

Adding another voice of thanks to Jughead.

This make me wonder about Maester Ameon's statement "Fire consumes, cold preserves".

Beric being reanimated by fire, loses is memories. If the wights are reanimated by cold perhaps their memories are preserved.

*excitedly anticipating Dance*

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Yes, thank you Jughead! What an awesome summary!

Well, it certainly fires the imagination once again. For now, I'm still going to stick with my theory that the Three-Eyed Crow is Bloodraven (perhaps even a bodiless Bloodraven at that) and that Coldhands is Benjen Stark resurrected by the Three-Eyed Crow in a similar manner as Beric and Catelyn.

Now, the fact that, if Coldhands is Benjen, he hasn't revealed it to Bran could be a little troubling but remember it's still early in the book. Perhaps he will reveal it but he just hasn't done so yet for whatever reason? Or perhaps, in his current state, he doesn't even really know to consider it or maybe it's like has already been said and Coldhands doesn't want to scare Bran? I don't know but I guess there could be a number of reasons why Benjen would not reveal himself (if he's Coldhands).

Also, I lean toward thinking that the Three-Eyed Crow is the one controlling the ravens and elk and Coldhands is more or less autonomous but I guess maybe it could be that the 3EC is such a powerful warg that he can control all of them, even Coldhands, simultaneously?

Another question I have is does one have to be a Child of the Forest in order to be considered a Greenseer? I'm just wondering if Coldhands calling the 3EC a "wizard" and "the last greenseer" automatically means the 3EC must be a CotF? I don't think it necessarily does but :dunno:

Finally, as others have said I really like the foreboding, dark feel of Bran's journey to the 3EC. You see, I think one of Martin's themes is that not much comes or is achieved without cost. I think Bran will receive the knowledge that he needs from the 3EC but it won't necessarily be what he or anyone, for that matter, would want. I don't believe it will be easy and I think it will definitely come at a price. Life is not a fairy tale, indeed :/

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Also, I lean toward thinking that the Three-Eyed Crow is the one controlling the ravens and elk and Coldhands is more or less autonomous but I guess maybe it could be that the 3EC is such a powerful warg that he can control all of them, even Coldhands, simultaneously?

I tend to think that Coldhands is controlling the elk and the ravens myself. (It seems weird that the three-eyed crow would be spending all his time keeping CH and the ravens on track when presumably there are other things on his mind.)

But besides that, it seems to me that if he's an automaton under the control of the three-eyed crow, it really doesn't matter who Coldhands is: the dramatic upshot of that reveal would seem to be nothing. The body could be Hot Pie's in that case, and it wouldn't matter because Coldhands the person would really be the three-eyed crow in another guise.

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Just a meandering thought but how big are the direwolves now? I know the old wolf is probably warg as well but surely he is much smaller and also old and probably ravenous. Summer, even with her sore paw should cream cracker the old wolf? Just wondering......not really up to speed with my direwolf lore but I was under the impression they were much larger or has Summer not reached full size? So long since I read this I just can't remember details anymore.

Has Blood Raven been mentioned in the main novels (not Dunk & Egg) as I was also under the impression he's a very very very minor character if you were reading the books casually? Cold Hands being revealed to be Bloodraven would probably cause a big 'uhh?' from most normal readers - somehow I can't see it. I see Blood Raven being more a green seer type of character as Master Aemon was a wise old bird type of character who was revealed later to be a Targ but mostly I just think Blood Raven has gone gone gone.

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Has Blood Raven been mentioned in the main novels (not Dunk & Egg) as I was also under the impression he's a very very very minor character if you were reading the books casually? Cold Hands being revealed to be Bloodraven would probably cause a big 'uhh?' from most normal readers - somehow I can't see it.

Bloodraven has been mentioned in the main books, and specifically in AFFC, where we learn that he was sent to the Wall and eventually became Lord Commander. But even if he hadn't appeared before, nothing's stopping GRRM from establishing him as somebody that the normal reader would be interested in during A Dance With Dragons, particularly if (as appears from this chapter) the reveal of Coldhands' identity won't occur until late in the book or perhaps even TWoW.

GRRM did something similar with the Golden Company in AFFC, and I bet a lot of "normal" readers are interested in what they're up to now. ETA: A better example, actually, would be Marwyn, who was mentioned in passing literally three times in the first three books, attracting the attention of only the most hardcore fans. Then he gets a big scene at the end of book four, and suddenly lots of people want to know what's up with Marwyn.

Edited by Former Gov. Sarah L. Palin

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Summer would be about the size of a pony at this stage -- though of course, what sort of pony is, I guess, a bit of a question. But yes, certainly, Summer ought to be able to tear apart a regular wolf... though Varamyr's one-eyed wolf was old and cunning, so perhaps experience has a bit to do with why it may have been able to put up a worthwhile fight.

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Summer would be about the size of a pony at this stage -- though of course, what sort of pony is, I guess, a bit of a question.
Is there anything to back this claim up? The only dire wolves to have been described as huge at any point in the books were 1. The dead dire wolf who gave birth to them, and 2. Nymeria (possibly partly from exaggerated word of mouth, and/or from her bountiful diet [of corpses]).

I didn't get the impression that we've seen them full grown, but I could be mistaken.

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I tend to think that Coldhands is controlling the elk and the ravens myself. (It seems weird that the three-eyed crow would be spending all his time keeping CH and the ravens on track when presumably there are other things on his mind.)

Hmm...good point but I'm just not sure, if the 3EC is controlling the elk and ravens, that it is "taking all his time". I mean, maybe he's such a powerful warg that he can warg multiple creatures at once and not even break a sweat? Also, I just have a hard time theorizing that the 3EC is controlling Coldhands due to Coldhands' seeming autonomy plus the fact that Coldhands told Bran that he would "take them to the 3EC". I guess he could have been referring to himself in the 3rd person but... :dunno:

But besides that, it seems to me that if he's an automaton under the control of the three-eyed crow, it really doesn't matter who Coldhands is: the dramatic upshot of that reveal would seem to be nothing. The body could be Hot Pie's in that case, and it wouldn't matter because Coldhands the person would really be the three-eyed crow in another guise.

This is a great point and I agree! I'll be the first to admit that it's probably just wishful thinking on my part that Coldhands turn out to be none other than Benjen Stark :) But, as you say, if Coldhands is simply a body being warged by the 3EC then it doesn't matter who he was before. I admit that I like to think Benjen may still have some role to play because he's a Stark. I also theorize that his joining the NW has something to do with everything that went down with the Robellion, Lyanna, ToJ, etc. and not just because he thought it'd be cool (pun intended). But, hell, that's probably just some more wishful thinking :D

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Also there was mention of Summer still limping from his brush with the Wildlings while helping Jon. Another thing that could explain the decent fight.

Bloodraven was mentioned quite a bit in The Sword Sword as Aerys II had named him the Hand of the King instead of Aerys' own brother Maekar. Egg's father. The whispers around the realm is that the Hand has a 1000 eyes and seems to know everything. Perhaps good foreshadowing of skinchanging.

Bloodraven and his archers are the ones who killed Daemon Blackfyre and sons on the Redgrass Field during the Blackfyre Rebellion. Bittersteel took his eye during the rout.

Edited by Trebla

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Destillat,

The wolves are roughly ~2.5 years old at this stage, give or take; in real wolves, sexual maturity is achieved at around 2. Possibly direwolves take longer than that, but Grey Wind and Nymeria are repeatedly described as "monstrous" and "huge" in ACoK and ASoS. The direwolves are probably at or pretty close to their maximum adult size now.

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