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Xray the Enforcer

[ADWD SPOILERS] Bran 3

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I'm now epically worried for Bran's fate. Is anyone else hesitant about trusting the Children of the Forest?

I mean, I know the flashbacks are interesting, but out of that chapter I started to get really concerned about Bran's path. I want him to return to Winterfell, but did I get the impression he never will? That he'll be like the three-eyed crow and live forever under the hill?

...I don't like that at all. the Children seem slightly sinister to me, they're dying out, so what purpose do they have with Bran?

From the Faery folk lore I know, trying the fae is one of the worst things you can do, so I just have this huge hesitancy around it and have this desire for Bran to get out of there, and get out fast.

Anyone else thinking the same?

Also, out of the flashbacks, the one scene of importance I think was the heart tree needing to be sacrificed blood, which coincides with the mention of entrails on a heart tree made by another character earlier. I just don't know why we need to know these things yet, I suppose we'll find out soon.

Yes exactly! When I just read it, I felt confirmed in my believe that this song is not about a good and a bad power, but about the good of no power and the bad of clashing powers. For some moments I was really afraid that Brynden is controlling the wights, too (and still are a little bit).

We need to find out what's the business with the Others and their minions. Otherwise we can't decide if Melisandre's way - as now we know she really believes she's doing the right thing - or Bryndon's way is right (or both or none...).

I was hoping to death that when Bran was watching Ned pray, that he was gonna hear Ned say something about Jon's birth. But I guess that would be too good to be true. Who knows, Bran might be able to go back in time to see how Jon was conceived, and who his parents are.

No Weirwood trees at the Tower of Joy (or whereever) probably.

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I'm now epically worried for Bran's fate. Is anyone else hesitant about trusting the Children of the Forest?

I mean, I know the flashbacks are interesting, but out of that chapter I started to get really concerned about Bran's path. I want him to return to Winterfell, but did I get the impression he never will? That he'll be like the three-eyed crow and live forever under the hill?

...I don't like that at all. the Children seem slightly sinister to me, they're dying out, so what purpose do they have with Bran?

From the Faery folk lore I know, trying the fae is one of the worst things you can do, so I just have this huge hesitancy around it and have this desire for Bran to get out of there, and get out fast.

Anyone else thinking the same?

Also, out of the flashbacks, the one scene of importance I think was the heart tree needing to be sacrificed blood, which coincides with the mention of entrails on a heart tree made by another character earlier. I just don't know why we need to know these things yet, I suppose we'll find out soon.

I can understand how you're feeling, but I would be shocked if this somehow turns out "bad." To me, the weirwood tree and it's leaves (white tree/red leaves = another example of the ice and fire imagery) and the "old gods" would be good; I see a parallel with Native American spirituality. I cannot imagine GRRM making that evil; if he does, I know I'd be extremely disappointed.

I love the visions he sees and I do see him becoming a part of the tree. I can imagine that he will not leave here, either, but I think he will have a role in helping his family.

I absolutely LOVE Bran's story in this book and I did jump from Bran 2 to 3. There was no way I was going to wait day or two before reading it. When he whispered "Winterfell" to Ned, I nearly cried.

Pretty amazing chapter. Lots of wonderful imagery and heart-wrenching moments.

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I can understand how you're feeling, but I would be shocked if this somehow turns out "bad." To me, the weirwood tree and it's leaves (white tree/red leaves = another example of the ice and fire imagery) and the "old gods" would be good; I see a parallel with Native American spirituality. I cannot imagine GRRM making that evil; if he does, I know I'd be extremely disappointed.

I love the visions he sees and I do see him becoming a part of the tree. I can imagine that he will not leave here, either, but I think he will have a role in helping his family.

I absolutely LOVE Bran's story in this book and I did jump from Bran 2 to 3. There was no way I was going to wait day or two before reading it. When he whispered "Winterfell" to Ned, I nearly cried.

Pretty amazing chapter. Lots of wonderful imagery and heart-wrenching moments.

It was indeed a heart-wrenching chapter. I really see the Native American parallel. Besides the viciousness of the Incas and Aztecs, indigenous tribes (for the most part) were completely benevolent clans. They had udder hospitality and gave all they could. Once the "white man" (just man in general in ASoIaF) came, there numbers dwindled. When they lived, they didn't abuse animals or the land or anything, they kept the circle of life at a good continuous motion.

I hate the TWoW will be so long. I need more Bran.

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We've got:

-pregnant woman who wants a son to avenge her

-young girl kissing very tall knight

The pregnant woman sounds like belonging to the fourth D&E story too, having been reveales that one of the wolf women of Winterfell will be pregnant from his dying husband.

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Targs do it. Lannisters do it. Why not Starks? Ned + Lyanna = Jon. Joking there. I do think the thought of "let them be as close as brothers" is a clue to Jon not being Ned's biological son.

I too get a sense of forboading about Bran and the Reed's fates. Just kind of a sinister feel to parts of this chapter.

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I don't know that Bran has to necessarily stay on his weirwood throne yet.

Bloodraven had a long life before he became a greenseer.

Ultimately I think that's where Bran has to end up, but I think he could still go back to the world for a while.

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I don't know that Bran has to necessarily stay on his weirwood throne yet.

Bloodraven had a long life before he became a greenseer.

Ultimately I think that's where Bran has to end up, but I think he could still go back to the world for a while.

True, but I don't see any way for him to actually make it back. The trip there almost killed his little party, and the winter is just getting worse. Short of a dragon ride, there doesn't seem to be a way to leave without going through awful, desolate cold filled with wights.

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I'm kind of upset that Bran only got three chapters in this book. My hope is that Bran learns allot from the three eyed crow, but before he becomes a tree the reeds bust him out (assuming they're still alive). Also, I'm pretty sure Bran is in love with Meera, not Hodor. In ACOK, when they first meet, Meera catches Bran looking at her in the great hall and bran blushes and looks away. Then, In ASOS and ADWD there are moments where Bran talks about not wanting to cry in front of her (this is genius, never let a girl catch you being a sissy). I think that the reason Bran wants to tell her he loves her in Hodor's body is because he doesn't have the confidence to say so in his own body. I think that this is proved in this chapter when Bran is ashamed of not being able to comfort Meera because he is a cripple. If TWOW doesn't have any Bran chapters...

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I thought this chapter was really sad. Bran is destined to remain there forever, and the Reeds are almost certainly going to die beyond the Wall. I wonder if Meera and Jojen thought that they would make it back home? With Meera crying and running off it seems like perhaps she did think that, but now she realizes that she will die there.

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I got a sickening, sinking feeling from this chapter -- that the singers along with Brynden are twisting and perverting Bran's remaining innocence to their own ends -- and now he's eternally bound to them after eating the weirwood paste. I can't help but think of the classic stories about "the little people" where those that are captured by them and taken into the ground with them lose all track of time -- and once they eat their "food" they're lost to the world of men forever. And it's also reminiscent of the whole drinking of the water of life from Dune -- especially the concept of the abomination created when a fetus has been exposed to it.

Bran lacks the wisdom to be fully aware of what he's getting into, or even grasp the importance of the things he sees. The singer's must know this. Maybe they're just desperate to find whatever greenseer candidate they can in time for the coming conflict. But even if the actions of the singers are somehow justifiable towards some greater, morally upright purpose, it's an unfairly heavy burden to lay on the shoulders of a child no matter how gifted he is. They're using Bran, and I'm beginning to get the feeling -- what with the priest on the Stinky Steward seeing the 10 armed thing with one red eye (Brynden in his chair? Bran in his chair? At first I thought it was Euron, but after the emphasis GRRM placed on describing Brynden's one red eye in this chapter I'm beginning to wonder), and Mel seeing all of the skulls and red eyes in her flames (the catacombish parts in the cave covered with skulls and possibly the "sleepy" greenseers "Brodor" sees beyond the causeway), plus Coldhands obviously being some kind of Uberwight -- that they may very well be on the side of the darkness.

Now, the darkness may simply be a manifestation of the unstoppable entropy that keeps all things being born and living and dying -- not evil but the opposite force to the strict order and polar ideology of R'hllor.

But either way, I think Bran is pretty much gone now. We might see more POV chapters from him eventually, but I seriously doubt he'll retain much of his identity for very long.

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Well put Swordswench. I would not be surprised if Bran is somehow on the "side of darkness." The whole chapter had a some-what sinister undertone to it.

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Sad to see that this is the last Bran chapter in ADOD. I hope that he can still help his family with this new power. I'm really curious to see how this will be relevant to what happens in the future...

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Bran's isn't part of the dark side, he's with the COTF, who fought the others with the first men 8000 years ago in the Battle of Dawn. Bloodraven isn't a villain, he's an ambiguous figure with a mysterious past. We know he was Hand of the King for Aerys I during the D&E novels. Maybe they're using him, but Bran is the most talented warg we've met. If anyone was destined to be the greenseer, it would be Bran. He's specifically receiving visions to go to the 3EC. Despite Bran's age (9 years old), he's proven to be remarkably adapt and intelligent. He's quite mature, though not as much as Jojen.

The COTF are a force of good. If they were dark/evil, they wouldn't enact barriers to ward from the wights, and would be in cahoots with the Others. We've read about how they gave the NW batches of Dragonglass each year in the past. They left a bag of dragonglass in the Haunted Forest, so Jon and the NW could have a fighting chance against the wights.

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Bran's isn't part of the dark side, he's with the COTF, who fought the others with the first men 8000 years ago in the Battle of Dawn. Bloodraven isn't a villain, he's an ambiguous figure with a mysterious past. We know he was Hand of the King for Aerys I during the D&E novels. Maybe they're using him, but Bran is the most talented warg we've met. If anyone was destined to be the greenseer, it would be Bran. He's specifically receiving visions to go to the 3EC. Despite Bran's age (9 years old), he's proven to be remarkably adapt and intelligent. He's quite mature, though not as much as Jojen.

The COTF are a force of good. If they were dark/evil, they wouldn't enact barriers to ward from the wights, and would be in cahoots with the Others. We've read about how they gave the NW batches of Dragonglass each year in the past. They left a bag of dragonglass in the Haunted Forest, so Jon and the NW could have a fighting chance against the wights.

I don't think the COTF really see things as good or evil in the way men do. They could still be somehow behind or connected with the wights, but need to keep them at bay, the same way you don't let a vicious dog sleep in your bed, even if it is your dog; even if you made it into that vicious creature that it is (and even if you didn't make it vicious on purpose)... Or they could be behind the wights the same way Melisandre is behind her shadow babies, or the same way the Brotherhood Without Banners protects and helps smallfolk, but at the cost of creating undead abominations. It seems both "sides" have their negatives as well as positives, and wield the awesome power they have for reasons that are as yet inscrutable to us.

I think the COTF are more of a force for balance than good or evil, and that may lead their actions to seem benevolent sometimes, and nefarious at others. And of course what that balance is, or how to go about achieving it may not always be to mankind's benefit. Other times, they may help men to keep the balance in check. Obviously men have treated them very badly in the past. They may be holding a grudge even the Bolton's couldn't match.

Another thing I was thinking about is that it's possible both the priesthood of R'hllor and the COTF represent the exact same powers of magic and how they manifest in their respective homelands. Yes, the COTF were once spread out all across Westeros, but their home does seem to be the North -- land of ice. R'hllor and his followers (and their magic) come from Asshai, the South -- land (literally in the case of the Doom of Valyria) of fire.

That opens up another consideration -- is nature inherently good? Is darkness inherently evil?

Oh yeah, and it's been revealed in ADWD that part of the worship of the Old Gods as it originally was practiced involved blood sacrifices to the heart trees. That doesn't seem very benevolent to me.

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It was indeed a heart-wrenching chapter. I loathed it as well though, for I soon learned it was his last chapter in the book. I really see the Native American parallel. Besides the viciousness of the Incas and Aztecs, indigenous tribes (for the most part) were completely benevolent clans. They had udder hospitality and gave all they could. Once the "white man" (just man in general in ASoIaF) came, there numbers dwindled. When they lived, they didn't abuse animals or the land or anything, they kept the circle of life at a good continuous motion.

I hate the TWoW will be so long. I need more Bran.

Is Bran not going to be in TWOW!?!?

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The others are evil beyond a doubt. Nature is fickle and unpredictable. There may be a middle path, but for the others, they seem like evil incarnated. They raise the dead and cut down other beings. They're not human and carry blades of ice. There is a coldness that sets in when they arrive. I can't see them as a balance.

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The others are evil beyond a doubt. Nature is fickle and unpredictable. There may be a middle path, but for the others, they seem like evil incarnated. They raise the dead and cut down other beings. They're not human and carry blades of ice. There is a coldness that sets in when they arrive. I can't see them as a balance.

Was it Others or was it wights attacking Bran & Co. when they were climbing toward the caves? I was under the impression it was just wights. And you don't need Others around to create a wight, just a dead, unburned body -- even if they do lead armies of them. At least, that's how I understand the difference between them, though I do agree that they're evil. But then, if they're evil incarnate, and the COTF are good -- what about Coldhands?

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Was it Others or was it wights attacking Bran & Co. when they were climbing toward the caves? I was under the impression it was just wights. And you don't need Others around to create a wight, just a dead, unburned body -- even if they do lead armies of them. At least, that's how I understand the difference between them, though I do agree that they're evil. But then, if they're evil incarnate, and the COTF are good -- what about Coldhands?

The distinction between Others and wights has me confused. Throughout the first four books I thought wights were just another name for Others - similar to how Martin gives more than one name to lots of characters. Sometimes people refer to Loras as Ser Loras, other times the Knight of Flowers, etc.

Same killed something with his dagger, and everyone said he killed an Other, but what was different that "Other" and all the Wights we have seen?

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I got a sickening, sinking feeling from this chapter -- that the singers along with Brynden are twisting and perverting Bran's remaining innocence to their own ends -- and now he's eternally bound to them after eating the weirwood paste.

This was my biggest concern from the chapter- I imagine consuming the Weirwood leaves somehow binds Bran to the trees and the greenseer's fate, so I see Bran ending up being a successor of sorts to Lord Brynden? Once Hodor were to leave, Bran would have to sit in his throne constantly, until they became one? Maybe this is looking too far into it.

Likewise with the sinking feeling too (I actually felt similarly in the build-up to the Red Wedding), Jojen is properly bummed out and chances are it's because he knows his own fate. I don't think Bran will ever (be allowed to) leave the caves (by the COTF), but I hope the Reeds do get away, if for no other reason than to reach the wall, speak to Jon and ideally make it home. Even ignoring that this would bring Howland Reed into play, a happy ending for them would be nice.

Love that this introduces the possibility of flashbacks, should get some very interesting snippets of stories in the future, however vague. Lord Brynden did say that eventually Bran could see without the need for trees, so the truth about the ToJ could come out, but for this to happen I imagine Jon specifically asking Bran to go and look, and I can't see that situation arising. Nice chapter, gutted there won't be more to play the speculation game with.

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Also, meant to add- I think Bran seeing Eddard will be a brilliantly emotional scene if it makes it to HBO, after seasons of wandering lost and pretty much alone. Would be a beautiful, quite heart-wrenching moment when he cries out then gets brought back to the cave.

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