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Time to hit the refresh button again on what has turned out to be quite an extraordinary thread.

The basic premise of the thread is that we’re reading the Song of Ice and Fire in which we’ve seen a lot about the Fire but very little about the Ice and that a lot of what we have been told concerning the Ice, the early history of Westeros and where the Stark family fits in is, quite frankly, mince, with a whole series of contradictions and anomalies in the pre-Andal timelines. In the process we like to think we’re working towards the true history of the Starks and why they are so important to the story, the identity of the Others (who probably aren’t the enemies of all mankind) and the true nature of the White Walkers. We don’t and can’t know whether we’re going to turn out to be right until GRRM favours us with his one and only true and authentic text, but he’s littered the story so far with an awful lot of clues which tie in both with other books he’s written, such as the Ice Dragon, and with Celtic and other real world sources such as the Mabinogion which we know have influenced his work.

We’re also having a lot of fun and learning a lot both about the books and beyond in the process. Links to the earlier versions of the thread can be found at but with this, the sixth incarnation since the end of November, its very a fast moving thread so just step in and enjoy the ride

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It occurs to me that we've covered a lot of ground over the previous threads, gaining a lot of insights in some areas and then moving swiftly on, (sometimes too swiftly) so it might be worth summarising some of where we're at, with say current thinking on the core topics. I know we have differing views on some things and agree on others, but while acknowledging this I think it would be a good idea if some of the regulars would pick a single topic and do a piece on it. I'll do something on the White Walkers myself, if someone else would like to look at the Nights King and so on and then we can all pitch in with our opposing views.

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Great idea!

But oh dear, where to start? I'll have to go back and check what the heck we have been discussing for some 2000 posts :laugh:

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because the Night's King starts to draw from sooooo many other topics, I don't think I'd be able to keep on point.

And just to not overlap too much, like BC above saying he'll try to summarize some on the WW, we should probably declare what we'll try to work on in a quick post before diving into the work of the long summary just in case multiple people start to work on the same thing.

might start by listing some possible topics?

Sam's interpretation of the lists?

Skinchanging, the boltons, the north's acceptance of it, the ties to the chidlren?

The Night's King...

The affect of the Andal's traditions on the Watch (will reflect on the pact and possibly breaking it)?

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Good Idea Boss!

Well what have we been discussing: The white walkers, the nights king, the wall, the children, the starks, the watch, the pact, the role of old nans tales, the hammer of the waters, the significance of iron, myra and Jojen's oath, prophecy, cyclical history, bloodraven, the coming of the andals, warg families of westeros...

Hmm I see Mrazny's post.

I volunteer for the nights king. Please post or PM if you object because of your own peculiar love for the topic.

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I don't know if this idea really fits in here, but I tossed it around before.

Theory: The "blood magic" in the Wall is from Brandon the Builder's own family. It's possible that Starks are a continuous "sacrifice" to keep up the Wall's magic (e.g. Benjen was this generation's "sacrifice," the Night's King was a Stark sacrifice run amok). "The Starks have manned the Wall for thousands of years" and "There must always be a Stark in Winterfell" are modern ideas/sayings that are actually steeped in the history of the Wall and its very real link to the Stark family. There might be a very real supernatural reason for why the Starks in particular have to possess Winterfell, and this might also explain how one family has lasted 8,000 years when so many others are so much newer and/or extinct.

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Great idea!

But oh dear, where to start? I'll have to go back and check what the heck we have been discussing for some 2000 posts :laugh:

My hat's off to you stalwart souls who are going to try to create order from the chaos. I'm happy to supply quotes, if anyone needs them. :D

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Yes Black Crow I have been thinking the same thing, you guys know I don't like to interupt when you all get on a roll because it's always wonderfull! But it does seem like everyone moves on fast because there is so much to discuss then I get caught up in the new conversation. We have revisted things of course but we might miss important connections from previous thoughts.

Since all of you are better than I am at explaining your thought process I'll let you take the topics summary and I'll put my two cents in. :D Do you think someone later on should discuss the possible magic connections, the red priests and Mel specificaly, glamors and such? Or maybe it can be just brought into the discussion as needed? I agree about starting with the *ice* part!

ETA

Welcome Apple Martini! I always enjoy your posts and I have been hopefull that you would start posting in the Heresy thread! It seems like you would fit in here well!

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It occurs to me that we've covered a lot of ground over the previous threads, gaining a lot of insights in some areas and then moving swiftly on, (sometimes too swiftly) so it might be worth summarising some of where we're at, with say current thinking on the core topics. I know we have differing views on some things and agree on others, but while acknowledging this I think it would be a good idea if some of the regulars would pick a single topic and do a piece on it. I'll do something on the White Walkers myself, if someone else would like to look at the Nights King and so on and then we can all pitch in with our opposing views.

Great idea! Thinking about what I could contribute. I'm on a slow re-read right now with an open eye for details I missed during the previous reads, while trying to not get too much 'into the flow of the story'. One of the things I'm looking out for especially is the 'spreading' of information, possible connections and similar wordings. My suggestion would be I will look out for these possible hints and clues.

Another thing I would like. In the heresy threads we discussed the storys of Old Nan and the relevance of her stories for the questions that we raise her.

I would really like to have a post where all Nan's tales are listed, if possible with reference to book and chapter.

Information about Nan's tales is spread out through several books in the chapters of Bran, Jon, Arya, Sansa and even Eddard.

Maybe that someone who has an e-book could do a search for this and post the outcome? I would like this very much. :bowdown:

The outcome could be a possible nice contribution to the wiki, I suppose.

ETA And of course I would like to contribute in summarising a specific topic based on what we discussed in the Heresy-threads. I'll wait a moment to pick one. I'd rather not obstruct preferences other contributors might have.

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The Nights King – a heretical introduction for heretics old and new

Heresies and heretical topics have been underlined. Happy to add acknowledgements or references to particular posts if they are provided.

What we know

The Nights King is introduced in Bran ASOS as one of many dark stories associated with the Night Fort (here in spoiler text because of length, if you haven't read ASOS yet you really shouldn't be reading this thread!)

The gathering gloom put Bran in mind of another of Old Nan's stories, the tale of Night's King. He had been the thirteenth man to lead the Night's Watch, she said, a warrior who knew no fear. “And that was the fault in him,” she would add, “for all men must know fear.” A woman was his downfall; a woman glimpsed from atop the Wall, with skin as white as the moon and eyes like blue stars. Fearing nothing, he chased her and caught her and loved her, though her skin was cold as ice, and when he gave his seed to her he gave his soul as well.

He brought her back to the Nightfort and proclaimed her a queen and himself her king, and with strange sorceries he bound the Sworn Brothers to his will. For thirteen years they had ruled, Night's King and his corpse queen, till finally the Stark of Winterfell and Joramun of the wildlings had joined to free the Watch from bondage. After his fall, when it was found he had been sacrificing to the Others, all records of Night's King had been destroyed, his very name forbidden.

“Some say he was a Bolton,” Old Nan would always end. “Some say a Magnar out of Skagos, some say Umber, Flint or Norrey. Some would have you think he was a Woodfoot, from them who rules Bear Island before the ironmen came. He never was. He was a Stark, the brother of the man who brought him down.” She always pinched Bran on the nose then, he would never forget it. “He was a Stark of Winterfell, and who can say? Mayhaps his name was Brandon. Mayhaps he slept in this very bed in this very room.”

No, Bran thought, but he walked in this castle, where we sleep tonight. He did not like the notion very much at all. Night's King was only a man by light of day, Old Nan would always say, but the night was his to rule.

Observations

  • Did the Wall exist at the time of the Night's King or was was it simply so much lower that it wasn't a barrier to the Stark in Winterfell and Joramum joining forces and that the Night's King could see the the woman from it's top?
  • Stark in Winterfell...Night's King? Who ruled in the north back then? This leads us naturally to the question of the timeline, when did this happen? Presumably the Night's King reigned at some point while the original 100 kingdoms of the First Men were reducing down to the 7 kingdoms that we know and love.
  • Does the Night's King still exist in some physical form? (Coldhands is the Night's King theory) "Brought down" is open to interpretation.
  • Sworn Brothers, is this the original name of the Watch reflecting an origin in the pact renamed and repurposed to guard against the Night's King?
  • Did the Night's King always rule only at night or only after he was deposed?
  • The Night's King is the one who uses magic to bind the men to his rule.
  • Does the oath not to wear a crown come before the Night's King or is it a reaction to his rule?
  • What was the Night's King sacrificing to the Others? His own children a la Craster?

Some Heresies

Thirteen. Two basic things to say about the significance of a thirteen year rule. Firstly its a magical number and it might be that the Night's King was said to have ruled for thirteen years because of that – ie it reflects something about the nature of story telling, the magical number adding to the mystery. Alternatively the thirteen is significant because it is true as we will come to below.

We know what the Watch is at the time of the books but know relatively little about the origins and purpose of the Watch (see other heresies for details). One approach to the Night's King Story is to assume that originally the Night's King was normal and the story of his downfall is the story of how the Watch changed it's purpose.

Was the Night's King normal? (ie revolt against the pact) The ruler of the Night's Watch was originally a sacred king who symbolically married a White Walker. Note that in the story that the woman is the queen and the man becomes king because he is married to her. This was part of the pact that established peace between the First Men and the Children of the Forest. At some stage, possibly due to Andal influences from the south or possibly to justify a power grab on the part of the Winterfell Stark and the wildling leader, this became unacceptable and Joramun and the Stark combined to bring down the King. As result the Watch became politically subservient to Winterfell but deviated from it's true purpose (the Watch is no longer true). This theory predicts that it was at this point that the children stopped supplying the Watch with 100 pieces of Obsidian annually, possibly also that it was at this stage that the Children retreated north of the Wall.

A variant on this is that the Night's King abnormal because he refused to go . Again the leader of the Watch is a sacred king married to a White Walker. He rules for a set period of time (possibly thirteen years, which could be a Westeros generation from birth to sexual maturity) at the end of which he is sacrificed to the old gods, either generally to ensure the blessings of the old gods or particularly to minimise or offset the Winter. This would also be part of the pact. However the Night's King refuses to be sacrificed. In order to avoid the consequences of this Joramun and the Stark in Winterfell unite to bring down the Night's King. This idea is linked to the question of the timeline specifically the idea that there is a problem with the list of Lords Commander of the Watch and that originally they may have served for a fixed period. One reason, suggested by Elaena Targaryen, that he might have refused to step down is for the love of his queen which would link to the ASOIAF theme of love being the bane of honour.

A theory suggested by Goldenfox the Unjust is that the Watch was a separate independent force that through the overthrow of the Night's King and the introduction of the oath was brought under control by the other major powers in the North. This links to the heresy of the origins and purpose of the Watch.

In all these cases the song Bran hears at the Harvest festival at Winterfell about the Battle for the Dawn in ACOK may be about the battle to overthrow the Night's King.

The idea of a sacred king married to a Goddess or to the earth or sea is a familiar from our folklore. It is also present in Westeros. We learn in ADWD that the Prince of Pentos has a sacral role and is sacrificed to the gods in the event of crop failure or defeat in war and that there is power in a King's blood. There is also a John Barleycorn in Jon's retinue in ADWD. This, the King of the Wildlings theory and the convenient presence of a mysterious, though red-eyed, magical woman also links to the idea that the history of Westeros is cyclical with certain patterns or events repeating themselves with Jon replaying the role of Night's King.

Finally the story links to the heresy of the Starks and the White Walkers the idea that the starks have a close bond, maybe of blood, with the white walkers.

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The Nights King – a heretical introduction for heretics old and new

Heresies and heretical topics have been underlined. Happy to add acknowledgements or references to particular posts if they are provided.

Thanks Lummel, great post!

One thing that struck me (beneath the spoiler so I'm making one too)

<The Nights King and his sorceress bound the Sworn Brothers to his will > ... Huh ... Sworn Brothers? Always read right over it. is the original name of the people at the Wall? And that the Night Watch was a name given to them by the Nights King?

Or was it the other way around ... the Sworn Brothers were the name for the followers of the Nights King ?

If so, there is a nice parallel for Jon being the Nights King Revisited.

He had his men swear loyalty to him, to go to fight Ramsay, to do business that was not Wall-business.

There was a sorceress in his neighborhood, Melisandre, doing magic

.

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Good points, I'll add the sworn brothers but I'll leave the parallels for somebody to deal with in detail under cyclical history I think

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Another thing I would like. In the heresy threads we discussed the storys of Old Nan and the relevance of her stories for the questions that we raise her.

I would really like to have a post where all Nan's tales are listed, if possible with reference to book and chapter.

Information about Nan's tales is spread out through several books in the chapters of Bran, Jon, Arya, Sansa and even Eddard.

Maybe that someone who has an e-book could do a search for this and post the outcome? I would like this very much. :bowdown:

The outcome could be a possible nice contribution to the wiki, I suppose.

It feels like you are perusing some real old parchments here. Like people who look for Atlantis :)

I can copy+paste all the Nan's stories from my e-books. But I am afraid I would not be able to do any relevant analysis.

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Old Nan's stories

Book 1

Game of Thrones

The first Bran's chapter, he is going to see the execution.

He [Bran] remembered the hearth tales Old Nan told them. The wildlings were cruel men, she said, slavers and slayers and thieves. They consorted with giants and ghouls, stole girl children in the dead of night, and drank blood from polished horns. And their women lay with the Others in the Long Night to sire terrible half-human children.

The same chapter, Bran talks to Eddard.

“He was a wildling,” Bran said. “They carry off women and sell them to the Others.”

His lord father smiled. “Old Nan has been telling you stories again."

The same chapter, Catelyn talks to Eddard.

“There are darker things beyond the Wall.” She glanced behind her at the heart tree, the pale bark and red eyes, watching, listening, thinking its long slow thoughts. His smile was gentle. “You listen to too many of Old Nan’s stories.”

The second Bran's chapter, right before he sees Jaime and Cersei.

His father would be the Hand of the King, and they were going to live in the red castle at King’s Landing, the castle the Dragonlords had built. Old Nan said there were ghosts there, and dungeons where terrible things had been done, and dragon heads on the walls.

Same chapter, further on.

Old Nan told him a story about a bad little boy who climbed too high and was struck down by lightning, and how afterward the crows came to peck out his eyes.

The fourth Bran's chapter, he is paralyzed.

“It was just a lie,” he said bitterly, remembering the crow from his dream. “I can’t fly. I can’t even run.”

“Crows are all liars,” Old Nan agreed, from the chair where she sat doing her needlework. “I know a story about a crow."

“I hate your stupid stories.”

The old woman smiled at him toothlessly. “My stories? No, my little lord, not mine. The stories are, before me and after me, before you too.”

[...]

“I know a story about a boy who hated stories,” Old Nan said.

[...]

“I could tell you the story about Brandon the Builder,” Old Nan said. “That was always your favorite.”

Thousands and thousands of years ago, Brandon the Builder had raised Winterfell, and some said the Wall. Bran knew the story, but it had never been his favorite. Maybe one of the other Brandons had liked that story. Sometimes Nan would talk to him as if he were her Brandon, the baby she had nursed all those years ago, and sometimes she confused him with his uncle Brandon, who was killed by the Mad King before Bran was even born. She had lived so long, Mother had told him once, that all the Brandon Starks had become one person in her head.

“That’s not my favorite,” he said. “My favorites were the scary ones.”

“Oh, my sweet summer child,” Old Nan said quietly, “what do you know of fear? Fear is for the winter, my little lord, when the snows fall a hundred feet deep and the ice wind comes howling out of the north. Fear is for the long night, when the sun hides its face for years at a time, and little children are born and live and die all in darkness while the direwolves grow gaunt and hungry, and the white walkers move through the woods.”

“You mean the Others,” Bran said querulously.

“The Others,” Old Nan agreed. “Thousands and thousands of years ago, a winter fell that was cold and hard and endless beyond all memory of man. There came a night that lasted a generation, and kings shivered and died in their castles even as the swineherds in their hovels. Women smothered their children rather than see them starve, and cried, and felt their tears freeze on their cheeks.” Her voice and her needles fell silent, and she glanced up at Bran with pale, filmy eyes and asked, “So, child. This is the sort of story you like?”

“Well,” Bran said reluctantly, “yes, only...

Old Nan nodded. “In that darkness, the Others came for the first time,” she said as her needles went click click click. “They were cold things, dead things, that hated iron and fire and the touch of the sun, and every creature with hot blood in its veins. They swept over holdfasts and cities and kingdoms, felled heroes and armies by the score, riding their pale dead horses and leading hosts of the slain. All the swords of men could not stay their advance, and even maidens and suckling babes found no pity in them. They hunted the maids through frozen forests, and fed their dead servants on the flesh of human children.”

Her voice had dropped very low, almost to a whisper, and Bran found himself leaning forward to listen.

“Now these were the days before the Andals came, and long before the women fled across the narrow sea from the cities of the Rhoyne, and the hundred kingdoms of those times were the kingdoms of the First Men, who had taken these lands from the children of the forest. Yet here and there in the fastness of the woods the children still lived in their wooden cities and hollow hills, and the faces in the trees kept watch. So as cold and death filled the earth, the last hero determined to seek out the children, in the hopes that their ancient magics could win back what the armies of men had lost. He set out into the dead lands with a sword, a horse, a dog, and a dozen companions. For years he searched, until he despaired of ever finding the children of the forest in their secret cities. One by one his friends died, and his horse, and finally even his dog, and his sword froze so hard the blade snapped when he tried to use it. And the Others smelled the hot blood in him, and came silent on his trail, stalking him with packs of pale white spiders big as hounds-”

The door opened with a bang, and Bran’s heart leapt up into his mouth in sudden fear, but it was only Maester Luwin, with Hodor looming in the stairway behind him.

The same chapter, Yoren tells that Benjen is missing.

All Bran could think of was Old Nan’s story of the Others and the last hero, hounded through the white woods by dead men and spiders big as hounds. He was afraid for a moment, until he remembered how that story ended. “The children will help him,” he blurted, “the children of the forest!”

The fifth Eddard's chapter

“Dark wings, dark words,” Ned murmured. It was a proverb Old Nan had taught him as a boy.

The third Arya's chapter.

Huge stones had been set into the curving walls as steps, circling down and down, dark as the steps to hell that Old Nan used to tell them of.

The same chapter, further on, Arya talks to Eddard.

“A wizard,” said Ned, unsmiling. “Did he have a long white beard and tall pointed hat speckled with stars?”

“No! It wasn’t like Old Nan’s stories. He didn’t look like a wizard, but the fat one said he was.”

The third Sansa's chapter.

When the Knight of Flowers had spoken up, she’d been sure she was about to see one of Old Nan’s stories come to life.

The seventh Jon's chapter, two frozen bodies are brought to the Wall.

Unbidden, he thought back on the tales that Old Nan used to tell them, when he was a boy at Winterfell. He could almost hear her voice again, and the click-click-click of her needles. In that darkness, the Others came riding, she used to say, dropping her voice lower and lower. Cold and dead they were, and they hated iron and fire and the touch of the sun, and every living creature with hot blood in its veins. Holdfasts and cities and kingdoms of men allfell before them, as they moved south on pale dead horses, leading hosts of the slain. They fed their dead servants on the flesh of human children...

The sixth Bran's chapter, Bran is talking to Robb.

"Lord Roose never says a word, he only looks at me, and all I can think of is that room they have in the Dreadfort, where the Boltons hang the skins of their enemies.”

“That’s just one of Old Nan’s stories,” Bran said. A note of doubt crept into his voice. “Isn’t it?”

The fifth Arya's chapter.

Old Nan used to tell stories of boys who stowed away on trading galleys and sailed off into all kinds of adventures.

The seventh Bran's chapter.

“There was a knight once who couldn’t see,” Bran said stubbornly, as Ser Rodrik went on below. “Old Nan told me about him. He had a long staff with blades at both ends and he could spin it in his hands and chop two men at once.”

“Symeon Star-Eyes,” Luwin said as he marked numbers in a book. “When he lost his eyes, he put star sapphires in the empty sockets, or so the singers claim. Bran, that is only a story, like the tales of Florian the Fool. A fable from the Age of Heroes.”

The same chapter, further on, in the crypts.

He looked at the passing faces and the tales came back to him. The maester had told him the stories, and Old Nan had made them come alive. “That one is Jon Stark. When the sea raiders landed in the east, he drove them out and built the castle at White Harbor. His son was Rickard Stark, not my father’s father but another Rickard, he took the Neck away from the Marsh King and married his daughter. Theon Stark’s the real thin one with the long hair and the skinny beard. They called him the ‘Hungry Wolf,’ because he was always at war. That’s a Brandon, the tall one with the dreamy face, he was Brandon the Shipwright, because he loved the sea. His tomb is empty. He tried to sail west across the Sunset Sea and was never seen again. His son was Brandon the Burner, because he put the torch to all his father’s ships in grief. There’s Rodrik Stark, who won Bear Island in a wrestling match and gave it to the Mormonts. And that’s Torrhen Stark, the King Who Knelt. He was the last King in the North and the first Lord of Winterfell, after he yielded to Aegon the Conqueror. Oh, there, he’s Cregan Stark. He fought with Prince Aemon once, and the Dragonknight said he’d never faced a finer swordsman.” They were almost at the end now, and Bran felt a sadness creeping over him. “And there’s my grandfather, Lord Rickard, who was beheaded by Mad King Aerys. His daughter Lyanna and his son Brandon are in the tombs beside him. Not me, another Brandon, my father’s brother.

They’re not supposed to have statues, that’s only for the lords and the kings, but my father loved them so much he had them done.”

The same chapter, further on.

“Old Nan says the children knew the songs of the trees, that they could fly like birds and swim like fish and talk to the animals,” Bran said. “She says that they made music so beautiful that it made you cry like a little baby just to hear it.”

“And all this they did with magic,” Maester Luwin said, distracted.

I know some of it is not really relevant (wizards and knights and galleys), but I have listed all of it just in case.

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It feels like you are perusing some real old parchments here. Like people who look for Atlantis :)

I can copy+paste all the Nan's stories from my e-books. But I am afraid I would not be able to do any relevant analysis.

Thanks! Very nice of you :bowdown:

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Old Nan's stories

Book 2

Clash of Kings

Chapter 4, Bran

Starks had wolf blood. Old Nan told him so. “Though it is stronger in some than in others,” she warned.

Chapter 6, Jon

“Aerion the Monstrous?” Jon knew that name. “The Prince Who Thought He Was a Dragon” was one of Old Nan’s more gruesome tales. His little brother Bran had loved it.

Chapter 7, Catelyn

And when at last Harrenhal stood complete, on the very day King Harren took up residence, Aegon the Conqueror had come ashore at King’s Landing. Catelyn could remember hearing Old Nan tell the story to her own children, back at Winterfell. “And King Harren learned that thick walls and high towers are small use against dragons,” the tale always ended. “For dragons fly.” Harren and all his line had perished in the fires that engulfed his monstrous fortress, and every house that held Harrenhal since had come to misfortune. Strong it might be, but it was a dark place, and cursed.

Chapter 9, Arya

She remembered a story Old Nan had told once, about a man imprisoned in a dark castle by evil giants. He was very brave and smart and he tricked the giants and escaped . . . but no sooner was he outside the castle than the Others took him, and drank his hot red blood.

Chapter 14, Arya

Arya was remembering the stories Old Nan used to tell of Harrenhal. Evil King Harren had walled himself up inside, so Aegon unleashed his dragons and turned the castle into a pyre. Nan said that fiery spirits still haunted the blackened towers. Sometimes men went to sleep safe in their beds and were found dead in the morning, all burnt up.

Chapter 23, Jon

Jon remembered Old Nan’s tales of the savage folk who drank blood from human skulls.

The same chapter, further on

“Wildlings have invaded the realm before.” Jon had heard the tales from Old Nan and Maester Luwin both, back at Winterfell. “Raymun Redbeard led them south in the time of my grandfather’s grandfather, and before him there was a king named Bael the Bard.”

“Aye, and long before them came the Horned Lord and the brother kings Gendel and Gorne, and in ancient days Joramun, who blew the Horn of Winter and woke giants from the earth. Each man of them broke his strength on the Wall, or was broken by the power of Winterfell on the far side . . . but the Night’s Watch is only a shadow of what we were, and who remains to oppose the wildlings besides us?"

Chapter 26, Arya

She remembered Old Nan’s stories of the castle built on fear. Harren the Black had mixed human blood in the mortar, Nan used to say, dropping her voice so the children would need to lean close to hear, but Aegon’s dragons had roasted Harren and all his sons within their great walls of stone.

Chapter 30, Arya

Old Nan used to tell of the giants who lived beyond the Wall.

Chapter 33, Catelyn

Storm’s End emerged like a dream of stone while wisps of pale mist raced across the field, flying from the sun on wings of wind. Morning ghosts, she had heard Old Nan call them once, spirits returning to their graves.

Chapter 35, Bran

Old Nan told scary stories of beastlings and shapechangers sometimes. In the stories they were always evil.

Chapter 46, Bran

Torrhen’s Square was under attack by some monstrous war chief named Dagmer Cleftjaw. Old Nan said he couldn’t be killed, that once a foe had cut his head in two with an axe, but Dagmer was so fierce he’d just pushed the two halves back together and held them until they healed up.

Chapter 47, Arya

In Old Nan’s stories about men who were given magic wishes by a grumkin, you had to be especially careful with the third wish, because it was the last.

Chapter 64, Arya

I’d just fly away, fly up past the moon and the shining stars, and see all the things in Old Nan’s stories, dragons and sea monsters and the Titan of Braavos.

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Old Nan's stories

Book 3

Storm of Swords

Jon, p.142 (out of 788)

In Old Nan’s stories, giants were outsized men who lived in colossal castles, fought with huge swords, and walked about in boots a boy could hide in.

The same chapter, further on

Old Nan used to tell stories about knights and their ladies who would sleep in a single bed with a blade between them for honor’s sake.

Bran, p. 232

“There’s people,” Bran told her. “The Umbers are mostly east of the kingsroad, but they graze their sheep in the high meadows in summer. There are Wulls west of the mountains along the Bay of Ice, Harclays back behind us in the hills, and Knotts and Liddles and Norreys and even some Flints up here in the high places.” His father’s mother’s mother had been a Flint of the mountains. Old Nan once said that it was her blood in him that made Bran such a fool for climbing before his fall. She had died years and years and years before he was born, though, even before his father had been born.

The same chapter, futher on, Meera is telling the story about the knight of the Laughing tree.

“Maybe he came from the Isle of Faces,” said Bran. “Was he green?” In Old Nan’s stories, the guardians had dark green skin and leaves instead of hair. Sometimes they had antlers too, but Bran didn’t see how the mystery knight could have worn a helm if he had antlers. “I bet the old gods sent him.”

Bran, p. 377

“They were afraid of the wildlings,” said Bran. “Wildlings come over the Wall or through the mountains, to raid and steal and carry off women. If they catch you, they make your skull into a cup to drink blood, Old Nan used to say. The Night’s Watch isn’t so strong as it was in Brandon’s day or Queen Alysanne’s, so more get through.

The same chapter, further on

“There’s a causeway. A stone causeway, hidden under the water. We could walk out.” They could, anyway; he would have to ride on Hodor’s back, but at least he’d stay dry that way.

The Reeds exchanged a look. “How do you know that?” asked Jojen. “Have you been here before, my prince?”

“No. Old Nan told me. The holdfast has a golden crown, see?” He pointed across the lake. You could see patches of flaking gold paint up around the crenellations. “Queen Alysanne slept there, so they painted the merlons gold in her honor.”

The same chapter, further on

“There are abandoned castles along the Wall, I’ve heard,” Jojen answered. “Fortresses built by the Night’s Watch but now left empty. One of them may give us our way through.”

The ghost castles, Old Nan had called them.

Jon, p. 389

"This is Queenscrown.”

Across the lake, the tower was black again, a dim shape dimly seen. “A queen lived there?” asked Ygritte.

“A queen stayed there for a night.” Old Nan had told him the story, but Maester Luwin had confirmed most of it. “Alysanne, the wife of King Jaehaerys the Conciliator. He’s called the Old King because he reigned so long, but he was young when he first came to the Iron Throne. In those days, it was his wont to travel all over the realm. When he came to Winterfell, he brought his queen, six dragons, and half his court. The king had matters to discuss with his Warden of the North, and Alysanne grew bored, so she mounted her dragon Silverwing and flew north to see the Wall. This village was one of the places where she stopped. Afterward the smallfolk painted the top of their holdfast to look like the golden crown she’d worn when she spent the night among them.”

“I have never seen a dragon.”

“No one has. The last dragons died a hundred years ago or more. But this was before that.”

“Queen Alysanne, you say?”

“Good Queen Alysanne, they called her later. One of the castles on the Wall was named for her as well. Queensgate. Before her visit they called it Snowgate.”

Bran, p. 515

The Nightfort had figured in some of Old Nan’s scariest stories. It was here that Night’s King had reigned, before his name was wiped from the memory of man. This was where the Rat Cook had served the Andal king his prince-and-bacon pie, where the seventy-nine sentinels stood their watch, where brave young Danny Flint had been raped and murdered. This was the castle where King Sherrit had called down his curse on the Andals of old, where the ‘prentice boys had faced the thing that came in the night, where blind Symeon Star-Eyes had seen the hellhounds fighting. Mad Axe had once walked these yards and climbed these towers, butchering his brothers in the dark.

All that had happened hundreds and thousands of years ago, to be sure, and some maybe never happened at all.

The same chapter, further on.

The Wall could look like stone, all grey and pitted, but then the clouds would break and the sun would hit it differently, and all at once it would transform, and stand there white and blue and glittering. It was the end of the world, Old Nan always said. On the other side were monsters and giants and ghouls, but they could not pass so long as the Wall stood strong.

The same chapter, further on

The gathering gloom put Bran in mind of another of Old Nan’s stories, the tale of Night’s King. He had been the thirteenth man to lead the Night’s Watch, she said; a warrior who knew no fear. “And that was the fault in him,” she would add, “for all men must know fear.” A woman was his downfall; a woman glimpsed from atop the Wall, with skin as white as the moon and eyes like blue stars. Fearing nothing, he chased her and caught her and loved her, though her skin was cold as ice, and when he gave his seed to her he gave his soul as well.

He brought her back to the Nightfort and proclaimed her a queen and himself her king, and with strange sorceries he bound his Sworn Brothers to his will. For thirteen years they had ruled, Night’s King and his corpse queen, till finally the Stark of Winterfell and Joramun of the wildlings had joined to free the Watch from bondage. After his fall, when it was found he had been sacrificing to the Others, all records of Night’s King had been destroyed, his very name forbidden.

“Some say he was a Bolton,” Old Nan would always end. “Some say a Magnar out of Skagos, some say Umber, Flint, or Norrey. Some would have you think he was a Woodfoot, from them who ruled Bear island before the ironmen came. He never was. He was a Stark, the brother of the

man who brought him down.” She always pinched Bran on the nose then, he would never forget it. “He was a Stark of Winterfell, and who can say? Mayhaps his name was Brandon. Mayhaps he slept in this very bed in this very room.”

[...]

Night’s King was only a man by light of day, Old Nan would always say, but the night was his to rule.

The same chapter, further on

The Rat Cook had cooked the son of the Andal king in a big pie with onions, carrots, mushrooms, lots of pepper and salt, a rasher of bacon, and a dark red Dornish wine. Then he served him to his father, who praised the taste and had a second slice. Afterward the gods transformed the cook into a monstrous white rat who could only cat his own young. He had roamed the Nightfort ever since, devouring his children, but still his hunger was not sated. “It was not for murder that the gods cursed him,” Old Nan said, “nor for serving the Andal king his son in a pie. A man has a right to vengeance. But he slew a guest beneath his roof, and that the gods cannot forgive.”

The same chapter, furthe on

Outside the wind was sending armies of dead leaves marching across the courtyards to scratch faintly at the doors and windows. The sounds made him think of Old Nan’s stories. He could almost hear the ghostly sentinels calling to each other atop the Wall and winding their ghostly warhorns.

The same chapter, further on

He remembered what Old Nan had said of Mad Axe, how he took his boots off and prowled the castle halls barefoot in the dark, with never a sound to tell you where he was except for the drops of blood that fell from his axe and his elbows

and the end of his wet red beard. Or maybe it wasn’t Mad Axe at all, maybe it was the thing that came in the night. The ‘prentice boys all saw it, Old Nan said, but afterward when they told their Lord Commander every description had been different. And three died within the year, and the fourth went mad, and a hundred years later when the thing had come again, the ‘prentice boys were seen shambling along behind it, all in chains.

[...]

Mad Axe had been a big man in Old Nan’s story, and the thing that came in the night had been monstrous.

The same chapter, further on, they meet Sam

“Was he green?” Bran wanted to know. “Did he have antlers?”

The fat man was confused. “The elk?”

“Coldhands,” said Bran impatiently. “The green men ride on elks, Old Nan used to say. Sometimes they have antlers too.”

The same chapter, further on

Beyond the gates the monsters live, and the giants and the ghouls, he remembered Old Nan saying, but they cannot pass so long as the Wall stands strong.

Sansa, p. 567

In Old Nan’s stories the grumkins crafted magic things that could make a wish come true.

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Old Nan's stories

Book 4

Feast for Crows

Arya, p. 71 (out of 588)

The Titan of Braavos. Old Nan had told them stories of the Titan back in Winterfell. He was a giant as tall as a mountain, and whenever Braavos stood in danger he would wake with fire in his eyes, his rocky limbs grinding and groaning as he waded out into the sea to smash the enemies. “The Braavosi feed him on the juicy pink flesh of little highborn girls,” Nan would end.

Arya, p. 258

She remembered a tale she had heard from Old Nan, about how sometimes during a long

winter men who’d lived beyond their years would announce that they were going hunting. And their daughters would weep and their sons would turn their faces to the fire, she could hear Old Nan saying, but no one would stop them, or ask what game they meant to hunt, with the snows so deep and the cold wind howling.

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Wow ... Nan's story's posted in a row read as a nice little booklet ... GRRM should publish it. I know some kids who would love to hear an Old Nan story read to them before sleeping. Thanks again Cap Ou Pas Cap :D

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