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shmoove

Brans weirwood visions

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About Old Nan and Ser Duncan...

GRRM said that one of the characters in the book is related to Ser Duncan the Tall.

So we know that Ser Duncan fathered a kid or two.

and there are two options in the book that could be direct descendants.

Hodor - by way of Old Nan, who we've been told is related to Hodor. Freakishly tall.

Brienne - Freakishly tall, She's also remembers his shield from her father's Hall, or wherever, and has one painted to match it - the tree where Duncan's Knight died.

Brienne was easy, since we know Dunk's shield is at Evenfall, but good catch on Hodor. That was so much harder because Hodor's personality is so "anti-knight." He won't even defend himself. I suspect that Bran will get to fulfill his dream of being a knight through Hodor. How cool is that if Hodor is a descendant of Dunk? One more freakishly tall person, and I know you'll all hate this as much as I do: Gregor Clegane.

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Something I would like to point out. Bran couldn't mistake a young Benjen for himself since Bran is red-haired while Benjen is a classic Stark. So some other boy Lyanna was playing with, or a blunder on Maritn's part?

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There are also tales from European prehistory of Kings of Winter who are sacrificed to bring an end to winter. Lots of wine & women for a short time. And then the chop. Perhaps in the very dim and distant past the Starks had to perform this aspect of being “kings of winter”. Especially if it has lasted longer than was comfortable and fears of a new Long Night are growing. And this is what Bran has seen.

And he has seen it because it is exactly this kind of blood sacrifice that will be needed again.

That's very good to know, you could be on to something. In ancient India, after a certain period of time the king would sacrifice himself.

I'm buying this. We also have an example from this series of sacrificing the leader when things are not going well for the kingdom. I think it is in Pentos where they select a Prince but execute him if they lose a war (which I can see might directly be his fault) or if the crops fail. The crop failure would be a Grail King situation, where the kingdom ails because of some sin the ruler has committed (see also Oedipus Rex). In Pentos they cure whatever ails the Prince by executing him.

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Something I would like to point out. Bran couldn't mistake a young Benjen for himself since Bran is red-haired while Benjen is a classic Stark. So some other boy Lyanna was playing with, or a blunder on Maritn's part?

I cannot recall the exact quote but I don't think Bran mistook Benjen for himself, he thought the girl was Arya cause she looked like her and since the boy was younger he then thought the girl couldnt be Arya cause that boy wasn't himself.

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Something I would like to point out. Bran couldn't mistake a young Benjen for himself since Bran is red-haired while Benjen is a classic Stark. So some other boy Lyanna was playing with, or a blunder on Maritn's part?

He didn't mistake the boy for him

Arya! Bran thought eagerly, as he watched her leap up onto a rock and cut at the boy. But that couldn’t be right. If the girl was Arya, the boy was Bran himself, and he had never worn his hair so long. And Arya never beat me playing swords, the way that girl is beating him.

.

Edit: Well that was quick on both our parts.

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There are also tales from European prehistory of Kings of Winter who are sacrificed to bring an end to winter. Lots of wine & women for a short time. And then the chop. Perhaps in the very dim and distant past the Starks had to perform this aspect of being “kings of winter”. Especially if it has lasted longer than was comfortable and fears of a new Long Night are growing. And this is what Bran has seen. And he has seen it because it is exactly this kind of blood sacrifice that will be needed again.

The Inglings of Sweden were similar to that, even if they were more like the pentoshi princes...if there were bad crops, plagues or something like that, they sacrificed a horse the first bad year, a slave the second bad year, and the king the third bad year. I can see the northmen doing something like that, if the winter lasted more than usual...

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It's one of the She-Wolves of Winterfell, I think. The five Lady Starks who were all widowed in quick succession and had to band together to rule Winterfell until the next Lord Stark came of age. I'm about 80% sure that the newest Dowager Lady Stark was preggers when her husband died in an ironborn attack.

When I heard Martin was writing that story, I thought back to that vision and figured at least one would be explained by that story.

Edit: I like the idea about the Kings of Winter, but could it also be a Bolton or the Night's King being killed?

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Sorry I lost the attributions to these quotes. My post went to cyber heaven and when I recalled it from auto save there is all this jibberish formatting I don't know how to fix. All are previous quotes from this thread.

Seems fairly reasonable.

I think the biggest two questions are who was the pregnant woman and what was the deal with the captive. The rest are probably just there to illustrate the fact Bran is looking further and further back in time.

It's possible that Bran is about to discover that the Starks made blood sacrifices in the early days. This could actually be the first real evidence that much of what we think we know about Pre-Andal Westeros and the Long Night is wrong.

A weirwood sacrifice to reinforce the idea that yes northerners did make blood sacrifices to weirwoods (see also, Davos' chapter in the dungeon).

As for the captive, like Apple Martini noted, the bronze sickle indicates that this was before the Andal invasion. The First Men faith is based on the early Celtic faith,the Celts practiced some forms of human sacrifice, and sometimes they sacrificed captives in groves of trees they considered sacred. Human sacrifice was also a way of girding for winter by reducing the number of mouths to feed.

There are also tales from European prehistory of Kings of Winter who are sacrificed to bring an end to winter. Lots of wine & women for a short time. And then the chop. Perhaps in the very dim and distant past the Starks had to perform this aspect of being “kings of winter”. Especially if it has lasted longer than was comfortable and fears of a new Long Night are growing. And this is what Bran has seen.

And he has seen it because it is exactly this kind of blood sacrifice that will be needed again.

That's very good to know, you could be on to something. In ancient India, after a certain period of time the king would sacrifice himself.

That thought hadn't occurred to me. But you're right, it could be an execution rather than a sacrifice. But that the deed is done by a woman using a bronze sickle makes the scene feel like a sacrifice.

Yes, you're right about the Heart Tree but the three executions we have seen so far done by male Starks (Ned, Robb and Jon) looked pretty similar. A sword, a block and the person is beheaded, a clean death. This one looked more like a sacrifice, I don't know, it's done by a woman (with white hair I think?) maybe she was some kind of old sorcerer, then there's the bronze sickle too, she slashes the throat of the victim... Don't know, Bran could taste the blood in his mouth as he watched what could mean that the weirdwood was being fed with the blood of that man, to me looks like a sacrifice to the Old Gods. And IIRC Ned tells Bran in AGOT that they follow the "old ways and the man who passes the sentence should swing the sword", so wouldn't that imply that the way people have always been executed in the North is by sword and done by the Stark in Winterfell?

One has to assume that we're being shown all of these visions for a reason, otherwise he'd be watching somebody dabbling his feet in the pond while doing the crossword in the Westeros Times and other inconsequential stuff like that.

...As to the old bat with the bronze sickle; classic Celtic human sacrifice and almost certainly signifying the Starks allegiance to the Old Gods

I'm buying this. We also have an example from this series of sacrificing the leader when things are not going well for the kingdom. I think it is in Pentos where they select a Prince but execute him if they lose a war (which I can see might directly be his fault) or if the crops fail. The crop failure would be a Grail King situation, where the kingdom ails because of some sin the ruler has committed (see also Oedipus Rex). In Pentos they cure whatever ails the Prince by executing him.

The Inglings of Sweden were similar to that, even if they were more like the pentoshi princes...if there were bad crops, plagues or something like that, they sacrificed a horse the first bad year, a slave the second bad year, and the king the third bad year. I can see the northmen doing something like that, if the winter lasted more than usual...

I think we are onto something here that I wish I had not found out until it actually happened, because I am going to hate it. Does a Stark need to be sacrificed at the Winterfell heart tree to end a long winter and defeat the White Walkers? Is this why there must always be a Stark in Winterfell? Because Winter is coming? Is this what the north remembers? Is this what Bran sees at the Heart of Winter? This all fits in with the numerous references to the magic of of king's blood. The northern clansmen snowed in with Stannis point out that he must sacrificed to the old gods to stop the snows. Asha also knows, and the ravens:

SPOILER FROM TWOW GIFT CHAPTER

"Then do the deed yourself, Your Grace." The chill in Asha's voice made Theon shiver in his chains. "Take him out across the lake to the islet where the weirwood grows, and strike his head off with that sorcerous sword you bear. That is how Eddard Stark would have done it. Theon slew Lord Eddard's sons. Give him to Lord Eddard's gods. The old gods of the north. Give him to the tree."

And suddenly there came a wild thumping, as the maester's ravens hopped and flapped inside their cages, their black feathers flying as they beat against the bars with loud and raucous caws. "The tree," one squawked, "the tree, the tree," whilst the second screamed only, "Theon, Theon, Theon."

END OF SPOILER

OMG I hope this is wrong.

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Well, Theon´s name suggests that he belongs to the gods. But as mentioned before, there always has to be a Stark in Winterfell, for the sacrifice to end Winter. This leads to the sad ending

Jon will reconcile the realm of men by accepting this, but only when it is certain that by his sacrifice, the line of Targaryens is ended.

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The tall guy is obviously Dunk, but I have to come down on the side of the youth with the arrows being young Bloodraven simply because if he isn't what's the point of him. The youth and the arrows must tie into the story somewhere and I really don't see him being anonymous and unknowable - its a bit like Coldhands, he could possible be Benjen although I very much doubt it and for various reasons explained on other threads reckon him to be Bran Stark the Nights King, but either way the fact he's concealing his identity strongly points to his being a Stark and I just don't see a previously unknown Stark popping out of the woodwork. Similarly here, I can't see the point of showing us the youth is he isn't Bloodraven.

But it can only be Bloodraven if GRRM is 'cheating'... The text states clearly:

"A dark-eyed youth, pale and fierce, sliced three branches off the weirwood and shaped them into arrows."

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@Kissedbyfire

1. GRRM seems to have a problem with eye colours (Renley´s changing from green to blue). 2. I have considered that the "dark eyes" doesn´t refer to the colour but the expression, also a shade around the eyes could make the pale albino eyes appear dark.

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Having a problem and something happening once are hardly the same thing. I can't think of him ever doing it again with regards to eyes.

And switching the sex on horses with ambiguous names is hardly in the same boat, is it?

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Yes, I didn´t want to insult GRRM ( love his writing, should consider joining a fan forum ). So scrap 1.

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Well, Theon´s name suggests that he belongs to the gods. But as mentioned before, there always has to be a Stark in Winterfell, for the sacrifice to end Winter. This leads to the sad ending

Jon will reconcile the realm of men by accepting this, but only when it is certain that by his sacrifice, the line of Targaryens is ended.

Agree. I think knowing what the sacrifice of Stark blood can do will be the boon he brings to redeem his world, after his "rebirth." Classic epic hero archetype. I've been looking for the identity of the boon for a while and I think we've found it here today.

Another twist I suspect is that Martin might go for a hat trick on the archetype with the three dragon riders, so Jon might actually be aided by two other Targaryens. This may have been what Rhaegar foresaw. Too early to tell, but speculation passes the time while we wait and wait and wait to find out what happens next. :)

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@Kissedbyfire

1. GRRM seems to have a problem with eye colours (Renley´s changing from green to blue). 2. I have considered that the "dark eyes" doesn´t refer to the colour but the expression, also a shade around the eyes could make the pale albino eyes appear dark.

I know, GRRM has said himself that sometimes he forgets a character's eye colour as he's done with Renly but with Bloodraven it's different, isn't it? I mean, the red eyes are always brought up, it's kind of a big deal. And then to have the character appear, unnamed, and with the first description being 'dark-eyed youth' would be, at the very least, deliberately misleading.

Forgot to say, just to be clear, I don't think GRRM would deliberately mislead us like this. I think if it was Bloodraven and he didn't want to give it away, he wouldn't have used the 'dark-eyed' bit. Also, with a character like Bloodraven it gets even trickier to just have him in a vision like that without either misleading readers with the physical appearance of the character or giving it all away. Because it's not just the red eyes (he would still have both eyes back then); there's the white hair and the blood-red birthmark.

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Having a problem and something happening once are hardly the same thing. I can't think of him ever doing it again with regards to eyes.

And switching the sex on horses with ambiguous names is hardly in the same boat, is it?

He also changed Val's eyes color in ADWD from grey to blue :D

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Poor Rickon,

I've been wondering what GRRM could possibly do with him after such a long absence. Bringing him home to sacrifice him would be too cruel but this is the North.

But on another note, Could the youth be Howland Reed? or a COTF that lives near/under Winterfell. Bran mentions that there are hills behind the walls of Winterfell.

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@Kissedbyfire

I scrapped my first arguement. Do you not think it possible that GRRM was refering of the expression of the eyes or that eyes with shadows around them could be described as dark, even if their iris is pale or red? And I think GRRM is constantly misleading us by letting us make quick and incorrect assumptions. But I definitely agree with you, GRRM would never use something like the changing of Renly´s or Val´s eyecolour to mislead us.

And I´m not convinced it´s BR either, but more because of Apple Martini´s arguement of the visions going back in time and it seems too far back for BR.

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In aDwD when Bran learns how to slip into weirwoods he sees;

  • A pale dark eyed youth cutting three branches from the weirwood and shaping them into arrows;

I've read somewhere that this was a stark (possible relative to torrhen stark) fashioning 3 arrows to kill the 3 dragons at the time of Aegons landing etc.

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@Kissedbyfire

I scrapped my first arguement. Do you not think it possible that GRRM was refering of the expression of the eyes or that eyes with shadows around them could be described as dark, even if their iris is pale or red? And I think GRRM is constantly misleading us by letting us make quick and incorrect assumptions. But I definitely agree with you, GRRM would never use something like the changing of Renly´s or Val´s eyecolour to mislead us.

And I´m not convinced it´s BR either, but more because of Apple Martini´s arguement of the visions going back in time and it seems too far back for BR.

I saw you scrapped your first argument, and I never for a second thought you wanted to insult GRRM! ;)

I think you are right, I agree that the 'dark-eyed' here could mean sombre rather than dark in colour. But to use a character who's known, among other traits, to have red eyes and then describe him as 'dark-eyed' meaning a sombre look is too deceptive in a different way then other misleading bits we get in the books - and I agree with you on that as well, there are several instances where we're led to believe in one thing, or led to make certain assumptions only to learn later that things weren't exactly as/what they seemed to be. But this is different, or, to be fair, I see it differently. I'm kinda struggling to put what I mean into words, sorry.

I too think the visions are going backwards in time. Not just backwards, but I think they initially go back a 'generation' at a time - and I think a generation in Westeros would be some 13-14yrs?). So, yeah, not only I don't think it is Bloodraven because of his physical appearance, but also because I think the timeline doesn't fit very well. :D

Actually, just did the maths... If all these assumptions regarding the visions going backwards in time, then the tall knight kissing the girl is some 90 yrs ago and the dark-eyed youth is before that but not much before. Bloodraven is now roughly 128 yrs old. So maybe the time does fit after all. But I still don't think it's him. :P

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