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Falrinn

The Others, are they really the evil they appear to be?

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I've brought up this theory in a couple threads by now, and I think I've developed it enough for it's own thread.

One thing I've realized recently is that GRRM has spent years upon years constructing an incredibly complex fantasy world where aside from a handful of psychotics and idealists, no one is truly good or evil. It wouldn't make a whole lot of sense for him to throw it all out in the final act of the series when the Others invade.

Because of this, I think the Others are far more complex then they have so far appeared. While there isn't any direct evidence supporting this, I do have a few points of indirect evidence for you to consider.

1. Virtually everything written about the Long Night was written by the Andals several thousand years after the Long Night actually occurred. It's possible that during that time the First Men severely whitewashed their own role in the war, as well as forgot the Others were anything other then pure evil.

2. We have probably encountered maybe a dozen actual Others. Judging an entire race by the actions of so few is extremely shortsighted. It's not impossible the bulk of their population is chillin' in the Lands of Always Winter and have no knowledge of the ones causing problems near the Wall.

3. The faith of Rh'llor, the religion most directly opposed to the Others, are not exactly "good". They view all other religions as their enemy and utilize human sacrifice. If the followers of Rh'llor are not plainly good, why do the Others have to be plainly evil?

4. There's a good chance the not a single Other has so much as seen a human since the time of the Night's King, and certainly not since the time of the Andal invasion. Because of this, they might misunderstand humanity even more then humanity misunderstands them. The end result? They don't bother to open a dialogue because they fully except any emissaries to be immediately and brutally murdered and simply attacked first. They may even believe humanity and the Children of the Forest started the Battle for the Dawn.

Now that I've given my evidence, such as it is, here's my full theory.

I think the Others we have seen are part of a small group intending to prevent their version of the Azor Ahai legend from coming to pass. In their eyes, Azor Ahai will be a brutal human warlord who will march an army into the Lands of Always Winter and destroy their civilization forever. The main population of the Others may or may not take the Azor Ahai prophecy seriously, but ultimately they see no reason to stop their brethren attacking the wall because they see humanity as being a simplistic evil.

But what happens when the Others start to realize that humanity isn't the simplistic evil they appear to be? The Others marching south might fracture into several factions (who knows how united they even are to begin with) and basically join the game of thrones for their own purposes. Initially it'll be done in secret, no one will be willing to admit working with the Others, but they might see the advantage of having the Others devastate some other claimants territory instead of their own.

In addition the Others might end up being the best way to counter the Dragons. Sure wights don't exactly react well to fire, but the Others likely have other tricks in their arsenal to deal with Dragons. I'll even go as far as to say we'll likely see at least one Dragon killed by the Others before the series is out. If that's the case, then factions with no dragons could consider turning to the Others in order to even the odds against factions with Dragons.

Once Azor Ahai reborn is either killed or stops indiscriminately slaughtering Others, the possibility for a new Pact will emerge. This is how I believe the series will end, with the Others and Humans making peace. Although there will be a bit of lingering doubt as to how long the peace will really last (the followers of Rh'llor for example will probably have to be coerced into accepting the treaty).

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I agree that the Others are misunderstood, and probably not 100% pure evil. I also think it's highly possible the Others will kill off a dragon. But I don't know about the Others signing any pacts or treaties. I see the Others as completely alien, with goals and needs that are so different from humans that they can't find some sort of compromise. The Night's King, for example, married an Other but it doesn't seem as though she compromised anything. In fact, I think the story went something along the lines of "When he gave her his seed he surrendered his soul," or something like that. It doesn't really seem like she gave up anything to make that marriage work.

It's hard to know what the Others' motivation is, or what their civilization or culture is even like. I hope that we hear more about that in the next book. An Other POV chapter would be awesome...

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Very interesting. I'm with you in thinking that the Others will be more than one-dimensional villains, but I have no idea how that will come to pass.

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I agree that the Others are misunderstood, and probably not 100% pure evil. I also think it's highly possible the Others will kill off a dragon. But I don't know about the Others signing any pacts or treaties. I see the Others as completely alien, with goals and needs that are so different from humans that they can't find some sort of compromise. The Night's King, for example, married an Other but it doesn't seem as though she compromised anything. In fact, I think the story went something along the lines of "When he gave her his seed he surrendered his soul," or something like that. It doesn't really seem like she gave up anything to make that marriage work.

It's hard to know what the Others' motivation is, or what their civilization or culture is even like. I hope that we hear more about that in the next book. An Other POV chapter would be awesome...

One could probably say the same thing about the Children of the Forest and the First Men. Although admittedly it took them a good 2,000 years to sort out their problems...

Would definitely like to see an Other PoV too, even if it's just a one-off thing, but not until after at least one of the human characters works out the true nature of the Others.

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there is a huge thread about this in A Dance With Dragons section called Heresy.

IMO the Others are either evil beyond all redemption, or so different from humans and all other living things that they can never co-exist.

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Not only do I think that the Others are not as evil as they appear to be, I also don't think that the Others are what they appear to be; that is, an irrationally evil demonic force of non-human beings. I believe the Others are essentially normal humans (or at least, they were normal humans at one time) that have used R'hllor-esque resurrection magic on themselves for thousands of years, until they "lost all the fire of life" and became icy wraith-like creatures. I also think they are fundamentally tied to the Starks, if not even the very descendants of the Starks and the First Men themselves. I believe that when winter truly comes, the Others will eventually aid the North and thus the Starks (who will see a very satisfying - and very brutal - return to power) in a battle against Daenarys and her combined southern armies. Fire and Ice, on opposite sides. Two houses utterly destroyed, only for them to return as superpowers at the end of the series to decide the fate of Westeros. The Targaryens have dragons, the Starks have the Others. There are just too many hints and connotations for the prospect to be ignored. The Starks were the Kings of Winter, their castle is called Winterfell, the deceased Starks in their crypts require iron swords to "lock them in their graves" because their spirits were known to become restless, etc. Hell, even their motto is Winter is Coming. And what two factions in all of Westeros are the most consistently associated with winter?

The Starks and the Others.

It aIn't no coincidence.

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Yes. They are.

I know I'm in the minority on this one, but I think the Others are every bit as bad as they seem to be. Whether or not they're actually evil is debatable (evil implies intent, and they may be more akin to a mindless force of nature, or have motives that are incomprehensible to us) but they're definitely a threat to mankind's very existence that must be stopped if humanity is to survive.

The only "twist" I think we'll see regarding the spiritual war of ice and fire is that R'hllor and his priests are also evil.

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In AGOT, Gregor Clegane and his band of psychopaths were dispatched by Tywin Lannister to ravage the Riverlands, in the hope of drawing out Ned Stark, so that Tywin could exchange him for Tyrion. Is anyone else wondering if the Other attacks we've seen so far are basically the same thing? In other words, Tywin Lannister sent Gregor Clegane to wreak havoc on a group of people, not because he wanted to annihilate those people, but because he had a specific goal in mind that Clegane's actions were meant to elicit. We've barely seen any Others north of the Wall. We don't know how many Others the Free Folk have actually seen, only that Mance was getting attacked yet still managed to bring together a massive host.

Perhaps there's an "Other" hierarchy, probably located in the Lands of Always Winter, who are directing actions here, and the Others we've seen thus far aren't representative of that hierarchy, but are merely the Others' equivalents of Gregor Clegane and his men. Perhaps the Others' goal isn't genocide against humans (just as Tywin's goal wasn't to obliterate all the people of the Riverlands), but they're simply sending a few soldiers to ravage the Free Folk so as to draw the Starks of Winterfell north of the Wall (which Ned was thinking about doing, and probably would have done, if Robert hadn't come to Winterfell), just as Tywin sent Gregor to the Riverlands to draw out Ned.

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I don't know, it's hard to be sure about the Others. They've shown no redeemable qualities so far, nor any hint that they have a 'good' goal in mind. On the other hand, nothing is ever as simple as it seems with GRRM, so maybe they do have some hidden, decent intent.

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This is interesting, maybe your right and the Other are a just misunderstood people trying to make it in that cruel world.

What's your explanation for the wights though? Are they really just jovial peasant folk who only turn into murderous zombies to defend their lands from humanity?

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I can't hop on board this crazy train. The Others seem to kill everything living that's in their way. They seem to be enemies of all things living, and they terrify Bran. If something is so alien that it wants to destroy all life, and more specifically, wants to destroy humanity, can't we agree that "evil" is just as apt as any other term? Haven't you all seen Event Horizon?! Who cares who started it? They may have valid reasons for thinking humans are evil. At that point, so what? It's genocide we're talking about. Humans will defend themselves against genocide, whether they "deserve" to live or not. But, regardless, I think genocidal practices are evil. And 8000 years is a long time to hold a grudge. The First Men were dragging their knuckles or something in those days. Humans may have evolved marginally. Plus, sins of the father shouldn't be carried over to the child, yadda yadda.

Translation: How can the Others be misunderstood enough that it actually makes difference whether we call them evil or not? They've got to be stopped either way. The difference is all semantics. After the carnage visited upon the Wildlings, it doesn't matter.

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With the experience from the Wildlings' encounters with the Others I cannot see it as any possible thing except that the Others are indeed a problem and wheter evil or not, they will need to be stopped.

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I can't hop on board this crazy train. The Others seem to kill everything living that's in their way. They seem to be enemies of all things living, and they terrify Bran. If something is so alien that it wants to destroy all life, and more

specifically, wants to destroy humanity, can't we agree that "evil" is just as apt as any other term? Haven't you all seen Event Horizon?! Who cares who started it? They may have valid reasons for thinking humans are evil. At that

point, so what? It's genocide we're talking about.

Humans will defend themselves against genocide, whether they "deserve" to live or not. But, regardless, I think genocidal practices are evil. And 8000 years is a long time to hold a

grudge. The First Men were dragging their

knuckles or something in those days. Humans may have evolved marginally. Plus, sins of the father shouldn't be carried over to the child, yadda yadda.

Translation: How can the Others be misunderstood enough that it actually makes

difference whether we call them evil or not?

They've got to be stopped either way. The difference is all semantics. After the carnage visited upon the Wildlings, it doesn't matter.

Im just hoping there is an interesting,plausible history behind their origin and goals,otherwise it will be very one-dimensional type of villians.like

that sauron guy from lotr.wtf is that anyway?ive not read books just seen the movies so the "enemy" seems to be nothing more than a lighthouse..

So i want the others to be more complex villians,not absolute evil

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Im just hoping there is an interesting,plausible history behind their origin and goals,otherwise it will be very one-dimensional type of villians.like

that sauron guy from lotr.wtf is that anyway?ive not read books just seen the movies so the "enemy" seems to be nothing more than a lighthouse..

So i want the others to be more complex villians,not absolute evil

Yes, but the interesting history will be irrelevant if their cause - as interesting, heartbreaking, poignant and complex as it may be, requires the eradication of humanity.

Sometimes causes are mutually exclusive. If for example there are two species after a planet, and the one requires it to be terraformed to have oxygen in the air, and the other wants the air to consist of pure methane or whatever, the point is it's a zero sum game then, and one or the other has to be eradicated.

It's not a question of good or evil then, but just a question of which of the two survives. And since I'm a human, well, guess whose cause I'm supporting.

If it's to be genodice of either the humans or the Others, I'm going for wiping out the Others.

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...IMO the Others are either evil beyond all redemption, or so different from humans and all other living things that they can never co-exist.

... think the Others are every bit as bad as they seem to be. ..they're definitely a threat to mankind's very existence that must be stopped if humanity is to survive.

... The Others seem to kill everything living that's in their way. They seem to be enemies of all things living...If something is so alien that it wants to destroy all life, and more specifically, wants to destroy humanity, can't we agree that "evil" is just as apt as any other term?

Seeing as the Wildings and the white walkers and the wights have all been existing beyond the Wall for a long period of time, possibly since when the Wall was originally built, all we can say for definate is that it is possible to exist along side them and if they are dedicated to the destruction of all human life they aren't very good at acheiving that goal (either through lack of numbers or incompetence) and can't be considered an effective threat to all human life.

If the white walkers seem to kill every living thing, but we know that living things have been surviving for hundreds or thousands of years in the same territory as them then there has to be something more to the picture. That's not to say that they are necessarily good or nice, it might simply be that they have intelligence or motivation that leads them to spare the Wildings, but I would be catious about concluding that they are dedicated to destroying all human life until we know something more about them.

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Yes, but the interesting history will be irrelevant if their cause - as interesting, heartbreaking,

poignant and complex as it may be, requires the eradication of humanity.

Sometimes causes are mutually exclusive. If for example there are two species after a planet, and the one requires it to be terraformed to have oxygen in the air, and the other wants the air to consist of pure methane or whatever, the point

is it's a zero sum game then, and one or the other has to be eradicated.

It's not a question of good or evil then, but just a question of which of the two survives. And since

I'm a human, well, guess whose cause I'm supporting.

If it's to be genodice of either the humans or the Others, I'm going for wiping out the Others.

But u would want to know the reason behind the genocide no? Like in the example, u gave me a reason why the species wants to eradicate humans or vice versa,cause they need methane to survive.

Why do the Others need to eradicate humanity to survive? Its not as if humans will invade the land of always winter.As long GRRM gives us an explanation for this invasion along with their origin story,its fine by me

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This is interesting, maybe your right and the Other are a just misunderstood people trying to make it in that cruel world.

What's your explanation for the wights though? Are they really just jovial peasant folk who only turn into murderous zombies to defend their lands from humanity?

A military tactic. Not exactly ethical from our point of view, but to them it's no less ethical then say, laying siege to a castle and starving those inside. Still it's not like they do it for fun.

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