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Black Crow

The Wall, the Watch and a heresy

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To pile heresy upon heresy I’d like to expand on my theory that the Others and the Children are one and the same, by looking at the Wall and the Nights Watch.

The Wall is a 700 foot high barrier of solid ice, supposedly constructed by Bran the Builder with the aid of the Children. Like Hadrian’s Wall which provided GRRM with his inspiration we can reasonably suppose that Bran himself had very little to do with it since building a structure on this scale required the magic of the Children rather than the labour of men, but lets not argue about that because there seems to be no doubt about the involvement of the Children.

Its when we start to look at the purpose of the Wall that things start to get a little sticky because it was all so very long ago – a whole 8,000 years ago. To put this in context, the current action in Westeros is taking place 300 years after Aegon’s Conquest, which for reference purposes we can equate to William of Normandy’s Conquest of England in 1066. Scroll back 1,000 years and we have the Roman invasion of Celtic Britain in AD 43. The Iron Age (or if you prefer the arrival of the Andals) is reckoned to have started around 650 years before that, and the Bronze age as long ago as 2,000 years before the arrival of the Romans. So far as recorded histories go, the Biblical Old Testament goes back less than 4,000 years and includes stories of kings ruling for hundreds of years, all of which gives considerable point to the words of Samwell Tarly:

The oldest histories we have were written after the Andals came to Westeros. The First Men only left us runes on rocks, so everything we think we know about the Age of Heroes and the Dawn Age and the Long Night comes from accounts set down by septons thousands of years later. There are archmaesters at the Citadel who question all of it.

Not surprising really and when we have GRRM expressing his fondness for using the “unreliable narrator” and giving point to it by not just writing this passage into AFfC but repeating it word for word in ADwD we too need to question the orthodoxy of everything we’ve been told thus far about the Children, the Others and the Wall, especially as all sorts of (metaphorical) cracks are appearing.

Supposedly, after the Others were defeated the Wall was built to prevent their return, yet there’s an immediate contradiction here in that we have an enemy who comes out of the cold and yet the barrier is built of ice rather than fire. There’s also a second contradiction in that if the Children helped raise up this barrier they left themselves on the wrong side of it which rather defeats the object of the exercise.

This is why I’ve suggested in the past that the Wall was not built to defend Westeros against the Others, but that the Children are the Others and that it was built as their bastion against the threat from the south. There is magic in the Wall certainly, but does it work both ways and if it’s critical to the security of the Wall where does the Nights Watch come into it?

The Wall we’re told, is safe so long as the Nights Watch remains true, but what exactly does this mean? We know that the Watch have fought amongst themselves in the past so a little matter of sticking a knife into the current Lord Commander isn’t necessarily a trigger for destruction by itself. There’s got to be something more to it.

Consider the oath:

Night gathers, and now my watch begins. It shall not end until my death. I shall take no wife, hold no lands, father no children. I shall wear no crowns and win no glory. I shall live and die at my post. I am the sword in the darkness. I am the watcher on the walls. I am the fire that burns against the cold, the light that brings the dawn, the horn that wakes the sleepers, the shield that guards the realms of men. I pledge my life and honor to the Nights Watch, for this night and all the nights to come.

It can be read straightforwardly as meaning that they are to watch over the realm through the dark of the night, when all those terrors that so exercise Mel the Red Witch supposedly abound, but what if its changed. The fact they wear black and emphasise the darkness, embraced by Bloodraven and the Children, can be read as contradicting rather than complementing the bit about fire and light.

At first sight this might sound a touch unlikely but then there’s the matter of the Night’s King, supposedly a good guy who fell in love with one of the Others and magically enslaved his own men. Suppose that’s mince – suppose that what really happened was that the Nights Watch were originally allied to the Children/Others, but for some reason changed sides and justified themselves by claiming that those still loyal to the children were ensorcelled?

Could discovery of this explain why Bloodraven, himself a Lord Commander of the Watch, went over to the Children – after learning the truth, just as Jon may be about to do?

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Just following on from this there's the curious matter of the weirwood door beneath the castle, which Sam can get through only after describing himself as the Sword in the Darkness etc. Why, when the Wall is supposedly manned by the Watch against whatever's to the north, is it a secret door in a cave which can only be opened by members of the Watch, when no-one in the Watch knows about it?

Yet its connected with the Children...

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There’s also a second contradiction in that if the Children helped raise up this barrier they left themselves on the wrong side of it which rather defeats the object of the exercise.

You've got your timeline confused if you think that the Children began on the wrong side of the Wall. They started on the south side and perhaps the both sides. However, when the Andals came they drove out the CotF. They broke the peace when the warred with the First Men and the CotF who had lived in peace separately, but on the same land. It was believed at that time that the CotF were completely eradicated. Either they fled to north of the Wall b/c the Old Gods were retained in the North (kind of like a neutral zone or DMZ) and especially north of the Wall where they were completely safe because everyone - First Men and Andals were afraid to venture, or they were already both south and north of the Wall and only the northern tribes survived the Andal invasion (although the First Men retaining the North would argue for the CotF remaining in the North as well).

The CotF are said to have lived in trees and hollowed out hills. The second is proven to be true. It's also possible that they live on the Isle of Faces still south of the Wall as well as in the South hidden deep underground.

Old Nan's story of the Last Hero venturing out to find the CotF to help fight the Others leaves room for interpretation. She doesn't finish the story. But, the story jibes pretty closely with the AA myth. Both suited to the culture who tells the story. One to enforce the R'hllor mythology. The other to enforce the fear of going North of the Wall. Even the Drowned God versus the Storm God (darkness/death) plays into the same myth culture.

I don't believe the CotF are the same as the Others, however, I think there's far too little information about the Others and the CotF to determine what's what.

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You've got your timeline confused if you think that the Children began on the wrong side of the Wall. They started on the south side and perhaps the both sides.

Nah, I'm saying they ended up on the "wrong" side of the Wall, and what I also said was that I'm wary of the supposed timelines, given how long ago all of this supposedly happened.

Those kings in the Bible supposedly reigning for hundreds of years directly compares with some of the stuff Sam was talking about and itsupposedly only goes back 4,000 years

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Supposedly, after the Others were defeated the Wall was built to prevent their return, yet there’s an immediate contradiction here in that we have an enemy who comes out of the cold and yet the barrier is built of ice rather than fire. There’s also a second contradiction in that if the Children helped raise up this barrier they left themselves on the wrong side of it which rather defeats the object of the exercise.

I think ice is the most logical material to build the wall with. The area is cold so it'll stay solid. Water is plentiful. They just take from the sea and freeze it. Can use wood as primary material, but burning it would be easy. Try burning ice, it'll just drench yer flame. Can use rock/soil, but it's the easiest to dig tunnels through. Gaps and hole on the ice can easily be blocked and fixed. Just add water. Can use metal, but where would you get enough for a structure that big. Can't build a wall of fire too. You'd need massive amounts of fuel to keep it going.

Yes the others are cold and so is ice, but this isn't like Pokemon where "ice moves" get more powerful when the place is cold or when a blizzard occurs. It's not like they can pass through it. The Night's watch just need some fires and winter clothing and it wouldn't be that much of a problem. Plus the wall does defend itself as seen from Jon's chapters.

...the Children are the Others and that it was built as their bastion against the threat from the south.

I disagree. This threat from the south can easily pass through and so does the ones from north of it with the use of the gates, but there's a certain magical barrier around it that prevents Coldhands from crossing.

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This is why I’ve suggested in the past that the Wall was not built to defend Westeros against the Others, but that the Children are the Others and that it was built as their bastion against the threat from the south.

But if the threat from the South was from Men then its a pretty rubbish bastion as Men can and do pass through it freely.

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I was rather thinking of Fire, dragons and Azor Ahai.

As to the physical structure of the Wall, why so high, especially if the primary defence is magical? It would be a lot easier to build and maintain something of stone, of comparatively modest dimentions like Hadrians Wall, but why Ice and why so high if its just a magical conductor?

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I was rather thinking of Fire, dragons and Azor Ahai.

As to the physical structure of the Wall, why so high, especially if the primary defence is magical? It would be a lot easier to build and maintain something of stone, of comparatively modest dimentions like Hadrians Wall, but why Ice and why so high if its just a magical conductor?

Ice vs Fire = melt

700 feet tall vs Dragons = Fly over

If its to protect against Dragons it probably doesnt seem like great barrier either?

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:agree:

I was rather thinking of Fire, dragons and Azor Ahai.

As to the physical structure of the Wall, why so high, especially if the primary defence is magical? It would be a lot easier to build and maintain something of stone, of comparatively modest dimentions like Hadrians Wall, but why Ice and why so high if its just a magical conductor?

I answered the "why ice?" question already. Check my earlier post.

As for the height, well the others do have physical bodies. The wall serves as a magical and a physical barrier. The height of the wall makes it easier to guard. Higher also gives better reconnaissance.

And the possibility of the Others using giant wights and mammoth wights and whatever other big creatures used to exist 8000 years ago, isn't unlikely.

They got big ice spiders too i think.

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Really interesting post here Black Crow .. and I was happy to see you flesh out your theory on the CotF and the Other a bit more! Wow I'm so embarresed but why am I only questioning the Wall being made of Ice and that a protection from the Others who bring with them cold might try using an opposing element now after you posted it?! (I should but that in the things I'm ashamed to admit I didn't catch thread), But I don't think fire defeats the Others so maybe the CotF and Brandon made a wall made of something the Others strengthen by getting closer as a protective measure? Aside from all the magic in it.. I agree that the Children and the watch used to work hand in hand, but I respectfully disagree that the CotF and the Others are in collusion, I think that many of the CotF chose the other side of the wall to keep from dying out like direwolves, giants and mammoths seem to be (the Giants are North of the wall to keep themselves from being driven into extinction by close minded Westeros, same with Mammoths) and I think the CotF hid where no one would look.

If the Others and the CotF are working together why did a bunch of Wights attack Bran and co. as he was trying to get up to the Cave where BR and the CotF needed Bran to get to? Why put that obstacle in the way?

I think the CotF have the means to fortify the Cave from the Others just as they once helped the NW and Brandon the Builder fortify the Wall .. so I think they were driven to make the choice to leave Westeros and they went beyond the Wall after making it, because there the enemy is someone they know they can safegaurd themselves from.

I totally agree that we need to question everything's legitimacy with GRRM and his unreliable narrators etc.. and I agree that something other than the NW trying to kill Jon will bring down the wall as members of the NW have already slit a LC's throat (poor Old Bear) .. So agree when you say there has to be something more to the destruction than that.

The Night's King really intrigues me .. I want to know more about what happened there, and your theory is really interesting.. I tend to hold to the idea that the only things I can somewhat bank on in these books are Old Nan's storey's being relevant.. so we'll see what happens with the Night's King, I would love to know who he was and I kind of liked the idea he was Brandon the Builder .. (maybe crackpottery) cause I don't remember the dates of the Night's King in comparison to Brandon the Builder..

The Weirwood door is really interesting.. It makes me think Coldhand's has the memory from when he was in the NW, although I know BR would have known about it also as a member and maybe instructed Coldhands on where to go.. or had the Ravens or the Elk lead him there.. BTW was that door half black and half white too? I remember it being all white with a dark red face but I don't have my book handy so it's hard to say for sure..

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The wall being ice makes sense from the point if view that when the wights and others come around, things get cold, making the ice that much stronger.

I also suspect the height of the wall is to give the watch time to respond to an attack. I suspect the others can scale the wall pretty easily, but it will take time. If the watch had stayed true, it would be hard to scale the wall without the watch finding out and mounting a defense.

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I dont think the COTF and the Others are the same, but nor do I think that either one is innocent. The creepy feeling when your reading Brans chapters in ADWD when he's hanging with COTF, is because the COTF are just that, Creepy. There are Bones on the ground, there are hints at cannibalism and human sacrfices, Jojen has given up, everyone is crying, Theres a Pale guy fused with a tree, crows are everywhere and if the First Men did practice Blood Sacrifice then there is only one culture they got it from. The Children remind me of demons, not dwarf elves. I also hate the abrasiveness of 'Leaf' the talking Child. All the Golden eyes staring at them....GRRM has redherrings and he misleads us if we are not aware but he doesn't lie to us. The writing is on the wall, I just hope Bran and his team get the hell out of there.

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But if the threat from the South was from Men then its a pretty rubbish bastion as Men can and do pass through it freely.

Humans are not magical, so they can pass through. There is no protection from men except the obvious, a massive wall. Even if that is not protection enough, creating some mysterious horrorstories about the land beyond the wall to scare them off can do the trick ;)

No, but seriously when the wall was built there was only one gate, the weirwood gate beneath the Nightfort, only men of the Night's Watch could pass through it, by saying the vow. The vows were said before the weirwood tree so the Old Gods (the Childrens greenseer) could validate the men passing through it.

I don't believe the Children are using the Others/White Walkers for their purposes but I think the Wall was built to give the Children, the giants and other old species a safe place in the world as much as it protects men from the Others. I think it was a mutual agreement between the First men and the Children, beneficial for both parties, the Children helped the First men to defeat the Others and build the Wall, and the Children were promised a safe haven from men, protected by the same wall.

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I think the height of the Wall is to minimize the risk of humans coming north, the magic in the Wall keeps the Others at bay.

If it was only a matter of a defense from the Others, well you need no wall at all. A line in the ground would suffice, just pour some magic in it.

Also, the Wall was protected by the Night's Watch, the Nightfort too, so no one from the south would pass.

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I was rather thinking of Fire, dragons and Azor Ahai.

As to the physical structure of the Wall, why so high, especially if the primary defence is magical? It would be a lot easier to build and maintain something of stone, of comparatively modest dimentions like Hadrians Wall, but why Ice and why so high if its just a magical conductor?

I would love to think the Wall is, in fact, a barrier against dragons. But it doesn't work, they can easily fly over it. And my thoughts that maybe dragons don't like to come near it because of the cold were smashed by this story about 'good' Targ queen A... what's her name, who came flying to the Wall with her dragons because of boredom and the Targy need to show off in front of the smallfolk.

But I don't want to let go of the dragons-are-the-enemy-theory. Maybe there IS a connection between the Heart of Winter and the lands beneath the Shadow? Why are the Others moving south?

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If it was only a matter of a defense from the Others, well you need no wall at all. A line in the ground would suffice, just pour some magic in it.

Exactly so, and as for dragons flying over it, as I pointed out on another thread some time ago, we have a mention of Queen Alasayne flying up to look at the Wall, but there's no suggestion she tried the obvious next step of flying over it to see what was on the other side. In more general terms employing the Targaryen dragons to patrol beyond the Wall could have been a very proper employment for them, but they didn't...

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I would love to think the Wall is, in fact, a barrier against dragons. But it doesn't work, they can easily fly over it. And my thoughts that maybe dragons don't like to come near it because of the cold were smashed by this story about 'good' Targ queen A... what's her name, who came flying to the Wall with her dragons because of boredom and the Targy need to show off in front of the smallfolk.

But I don't want to let go of the dragons-are-the-enemy-theory. Maybe there IS a connection between the Heart of Winter and the lands beneath the Shadow? Why are the Others moving south?

But when the Wall was built, there probably were no more dragons in Westeros so it was an error in judgement, unless perhaps there were... Ice dragons!

To add: as to you other question-mark, I have no idea, still thinking about it...

Exactly so, and as for dragons flying over it, as I pointed out on another thread some time ago, we have a mention of Queen Alasayne flying up to look at the Wall, but there's no suggestion she tried the obvious next step of flying over it to see what was on the other side. In more general terms employing the Targaryen dragons to patrol beyond the Wall could have been a very proper employment for them, but they didn't...

First I would like to thank you for starting the topic! And it was nice to read your theory in it's entirety.

Although we do not agree on some parts, our theories share a common denominator - The Wall was built to protect the lands Beyond the Wall.

I guess there were no reason for the dragons to be employed in patrolling the Wall when the Targaryens came to Westeros, since there was no imminent threat to the realm. The NW coped fine and the Others were more a fairytale than an actual danger. The prevalent theory was that there were wild people trying to conquer the Realm, a proven fact (and add to that the grumpkins and snarks...) so the Wall still served a great purpose.

I guess the Children and the old species were saved by the wildlings in that respect :)

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As far as I recall, the Others hate anything with warm blood. The Children of the Forest seem to have warm blood, which implies that they would very likely not be allies of any sort for the Others.

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I guess there were no reason for the dragons to be employed in patrolling the Wall when the Targaryens came to Westeros, since there was no imminent threat to the realm. The NW coped fine and the Others were more a fairytale than an actual danger.

True, up to a point, but it seems pretty obvious that they were at a bit of a loose end with their dragons after the conquest, hence keeping them in the dragon pit and watching them moult away so to speak. Patrolling the north would have justified them even if there was nothing much to see - which is why I have this strong suspicion they can't cross it.

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Furthering this line of thought, then, what purpose does the Horn of Winter (I think that was what it was called) serve? Jon and the Watch think it can bring down The Wall, but one would assume it was made or imbued by the CoTF. They certainly wouldn't want that if The Wall's purpose was to protect them. We also have the "other" horn in the series, the dragon-binding horn and that it can only be used/blown by someone superhuman. There certainly must be a correlation.

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