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[Book spoilers] The Others and other things that don't add up

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It's implied that perhaps they eat them. Gilly said:

"He gives the boys to the gods. Come the white cold, he does, and of late it comes more often. That's why he started giving them sheep, even though he has a taste for mutton. Only now the now the sheep's gone too. Next it will be the dogs, til..." She lowered her eyes and stroked her belly.

I think that means that Craster enjoys mutton, not that the Others do. She is saying that he sacrificed his sheep even though he enjoys the mutton. But I agree your right its odd that he would give his sheep, then dogs, then sons.

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So the sheep and dogs and get zombified too?

Why not? It is certainly possible. We know they Others can 'whight' dead animals as well as humans.

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I think that means that Craster enjoys mutton, not that the Others do. She is saying that he sacrificed his sheep even though he enjoys the mutton. But I agree your right its odd that he would give his sheep, then dogs, then sons.

Yes, I agree that the line was talking about Craster enjoying mutton, but still it seems the animal sacrifices would be more likely to be eaten (the wights ate sam's horse after he escapes Small Paul, and when undead Small Paul attacks Sam and Gilly, Gilly says: "He's come for the babe," Gilly wept. "He smells him. A babe fresh-born stinks o' life. He's come for the life."

I always took the sons of Craster comment to be just their name for the wights/others, not literally his sons.

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So the sheep and dogs and get zombified too?

I have no idea. I was just pointing out what is believed by the wives and stated in the book.

It is possible since we know the Others ride on dead horses.

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Maybe they feed the sheep to the sons? Maybe they're somehow raising these babies up to be part of their undead army? Surely no one thinks they take the babies and eat them - what point would that be to an Other, they are not creatures that require food as far as I know and what good is eating little babies when they could just eat the adults if that's what they did with them?

Sure, they can kill wildlings and convert them to wights as well but they seem like semi-mindless and not controllable.

None of these crazy theories seem to make any sense at all.

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Maybe they feed the sheep to the sons? Maybe they're somehow raising these babies up to be part of their undead army? Surely no one thinks they take the babies and eat them - what point would that be to an Other, they are not creatures that require food as far as I know and what good is eating little babies when they could just eat the adults if that's what they did with them?

We know precious little about Others. Also, have you ever seen anyn zombie movie/book? Probably same reason. They might also eat them, as Gilly said, for the 'life', or the warmth. Perhaps they want to literally 'taste' life.

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We know precious little about Others. Also, have you ever seen anyn zombie movie/book? Probably same reason. They might also eat them, as Gilly said, for the 'life', or the warmth. Perhaps they want to literally 'taste' life.

Ok, we may not know the eating habits of the Others, but we do know the Others are not the same thing as a wight, right? The wights are what happens when the Others kill a human and it becomes a semi-coherent mindless zombie like thing after death. Both wights and the Others have blue eyes, but its very different in appearance. One is supposed to have some sort of magical mystical appearance while the wights have a cold dead blue eye look. I'm fairly certain the two are completely different.

So what we have to figure out now, with that scene - was it a wight that picked up the baby or an Other? Many have complained it didn't 'look' like they imagined an Other to look...bulky, too shadowy, etc. and I even thought the thing had some sort of furs or clothing on, so at first I was confused. I have read non-readers who thought it was a wildling even. If it was a wight, I don't think it would be gentle or conscious of its actions that way... they seem more 'zombie' like whereas the Others are supposedly sentient beings.

Also, back on the topic of the sons. Remember the wives urge Sam (in the later visit) to take Gilly and her newborn away because now that Craster is dead, the 'sons' will be coming soon... so I'm thinking these 'sons' are not babies or little boys, but grown men. Now whatever kind of 'men' that may be is debatable. Wights? How did they get that way if they were babies when Craster set them out for sacrifice?

So many mysteries!

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Yes, good and chewy mysteries. I've always wondered about the sons coming too. Somehow I think that there will be something pretty cool involved.

The big clue about it being an other picking up the baby was that the ice cracking voices were heard just like in episode 1.

Another thought: with the amount of ignorance about the Others, the KW might not have any firm idea about how people become wights.

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To me what Jon saw picking up the baby looked like the Others from from the beginning of episode one. It looked too coordinated to be a Wight, plus it didn't really look like just a frozen undead person.

It seemed like it was semi - gingerly picking it up to carry it off, my gut tells me for some kind of dark magic purpose; maybe some kind of ritual sacrifice where they draw power from its young life force, maybe somehow they can raise it to be a servant or transform it to an Other; I doubt we'll ever find our for sure.

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To me what Jon saw picking up the baby looked like the Others from from the beginning of episode one. It looked too coordinated to be a Wight, plus it didn't really look like just a frozen undead person.

It seemed like it was semi - gingerly picking it up to carry it off, my gut tells me for some kind of dark magic purpose; maybe some kind of ritual sacrifice where they draw power from its young life force, maybe somehow they can raise it to be a servant or transform it to an Other; I doubt we'll ever find our for sure.

I agree that it was probably meant to be an Other and not a wight because the wights seem like mindless killing machines. I have also wondered if perhaps Craster's sons are actually used in a blood ritual that brings more Others to life somehow. If we compare that to some of the other 'blood magic' we already know about (such as Mirri Maz Duur's reanimation of Drogo and Melisandre's shadow 'babies') it definitely makes sense as a possible theory of what happens to Craster's sons once the Others take off with them. "Only Death can produce Life" seems to be the running theme..right?

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If we compare that to some of the other 'blood magic' we already know about (such as Mirri Maz Duur's reanimation of Drogo and Melisandre's shadow 'babies') it definitely makes sense as a possible theory of what happens to Craster's sons once the Others take off with them. "Only Death can produce Life" seems to be the running theme..right?

Yeah, with regards to what magic there is in the show; magic just seems to redirect or re-purpose energy as much as anything else.

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Also, back on the topic of the sons. Remember the wives urge Sam (in the later visit) to take Gilly and her newborn away because now that Craster is dead, the 'sons' will be coming soon... so I'm thinking these 'sons' are not babies or little boys, but grown men. Now whatever kind of 'men' that may be is debatable. Wights? How did they get that way if they were babies when Craster set them out for sacrifice?

So many mysteries!

Yes, and we don't know if the comment literally means Craster's sons, or if that is just the name they gave the creatures, whether they were wights or Others. Perhaps the wives have no idea what happens to the babes after Craster takes them, other than they never return. Gilly also referred to the babes as sacrifices to the cold gods, but does anyone really believe they are gods?

Regardless of whether the TV version was an Other, which is what it looked like to me at first glance, or a wight, that has minimal insight into what Craster's sons were in the books. The scene was completely made up. There have been several things in the show that completely contradict known facts in the books, so I don't look at the show really giving us more real insight there.

I have considered the possibility that perhaps the babies are used to make new "others" though, which to me would make the most sense if they were literally supposed to be Craster's sons. Either that or we will see a small army of undead babies attack the wall some time in the future, as I find it hard to imagine wights growing up from babies to adults.

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In the show Jon is not quite sure what he saw, so he and Mormont can have a discussion just about Craster sacrificing his sons and be very ambiguous about the rest. In the book it's quite clear to Jon from what Gilly tells him that there is definitely a connection between what Craster is doing and the supernatural, even if he doesn't 100% understand it's the Others. Even if Jon is that stupid, Mormont should be able to put it together. Or Sam. Yet he doesn't convey that information to Mormont at all, talking to him only about the sacrifice of the sons and sheep. This is a pretty important piece of information that Jon manages to forget to pass on. So the show dodges that aspect of the books. In either case, Mormont is far more concerned about what Mance is up to than the wight attack. A couple wights are no big deal once you know how to kill them. Mance Rayder with an army of wildlings is a big problem. But if Mormont is told the Others are running around in the forest around him, wouldn't he high tail it back to the Wall right then? In the books Jon basically gets everyone killed because he doesn't pass that information on to his commander. Then he gets promoted to commander.

If Mormont and all the rangers know that Craster is sacrificing the sons to the Others, then things make no sense at all. The Night's Watch's whole problem in the early parts of the book is that they don't know what they are facing and then that they can't get anyone in authority to believe them when they do. But if Mormont already knows, then Benjen knows. Benjen can tell Ned, who will believe him. Ned will tell Robert, who will believe him, and get a gleam in his eye at a chance to fight the mother of all battles. So Mormont absolutely cannot know until after Benjen is missing at the earliest.

I prefer to think GRRM was just high when he wrote that chapter and forget about it.

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New episode, new riddles :)

We were shown Mormont knew Craster was giving children away to the Others. For years. Why did he not tell Eddard Stark? Why was the deserter we've seen beheaded in season 1 called "a madman"?

Well, we were shown that Mormont knew Craster was abandoning his newborn sons in the forest. But Mormont has never actually seen an Other and doesn't know they exist - neither does Jon or any other living member of the Night's Watch at this point. The Night's Watch, along with the rest of the realm, believes the Others to be mythical. Bear in mind that there's a difference between the Others and the undead wights which rise from the corpses the Others leave - Mormont has seen the wights when Jon saved his life, and that was completely new to him.

Also, what good would it do for Mormont (or Benjen Stark) to tell Eddard Stark about Craster exposing his newborn sons to the elements? Eddard Stark's lands and power don't extend north of the Wall.

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No, in the books Jon and the rest of the NW does not know Craster is sacrificing his son's to the Others; in the show Jon didn't see the Others from episode 1, the only survivor who did had his head chopped off via Ned later in episode one. So Jon really didn't know what he saw in the show, he only saw something for a second before Craster brained him good.

In the books Jon finds out what the NW already knew, that Craster was sacrificing his sons the forest or the night or the elements or w/e you want to call it. No one knew for sure it was to the Others, even if some might have suspected it.

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I think that the Night Watch knew that Craster was not raising his sons and put them somehow to death (let them starve, e.g.). They were not investigating further.

But now, that they know that the Others are out again (remember also that White Walkers have not been seen for centuries before Book 1), the old bear (and Jon) puts things together and thinks Craster is sacrifying his sons to the Ohters without knowing exactly how and what becomes of them.

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In the books Jon finds out what the NW already knew, that Craster was sacrificing his sons the forest or the night or the elements or w/e you want to call it. No one knew for sure it was to the Others, even if some might have suspected it.

Jon most certainly does find out from Gilly. The text from the book is already in this thread, but here you go again.

"The cold gods," she said. "The ones in the night. The white shadows."

And suddenly Jon was back in the Lord Commander's Tower again. A severed hand was climbing his calf and when he pried it off with the point of his longsword, it lay writhing, fingers opening and closing. The dead man rose to his feet, blue eyes shining in the gashed and swollen face. Ropes of torn flesh hung from the great wound in his belly, yet there was no blood.

"What color are their eyes?" he asked her.

"Blue. As bright as blue stars, and as cold."

She has seen them, he thought. Craster lied.

But Jon completely leaves this part out of what he says to Mormont about it, so Mormont continues to think Craster is sacrificing his sons as a ritual type of thing and not that actual physical beings are coming for them.

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No, in the books Jon and the rest of the NW does not know Craster is sacrificing his son's to the Others; in the show Jon didn't see the Others from episode 1, the only survivor who did had his head chopped off via Ned later in episode one. So Jon really didn't know what he saw in the show, he only saw something for a second before Craster brained him good.

In the books Jon finds out what the NW already knew, that Craster was sacrificing his sons the forest or the night or the elements or w/e you want to call it. No one knew for sure it was to the Others, even if some might have suspected it.

This. I am firmly in the camp that no one (other than the deserter Ned beheaded) has lived to report an actual sighting of an Other or an attack on Night's Watch men. Benjen has never returned, the two men brought back to the Wall became wights and they're not telling how they got that way, and the scene with Craster putting his son out in the snow and an Other picking it up while Jon watches never happened in the book.

I've been trying to riddle it out in this thread and the other thread about "Crueler Gods" what the series producers could be thinking in changing the story and adding that scene. The only thing I can come up with is they want the Night's Watch to already know about the Others before they reach the Fist to expedite the storyline faster. Are they going to leave out the attack scene where Sam stabs an other with dragon glass? Are they going to jump forward to Jon's mission with Qoren Halfhand and leave out the other half of the story of what's happening with the Night's Watch at their Watch Post near Mance Rayder's giant camp?

I'm just not sure what's going to happen but I'm sure they'll make it all blend together regardless of whether we now believe Mormont knew about the others or not. He certainly should believe it now for next episode.

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Jone thinks Craster is giving sons to Wights, not the Others. He remembered dead man that attack him, and that was Wight not Other.

The dead man rose to his feet, blue eyes shining in the gashed and swollen face.

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I didn't say John didn't find out from in Gilly in the books; in the show they just showed it happen rather then reveal it through dialogue, a decision that accomplished the same thing but did it differently for a different medium.

Also Others have blue eyes in the show, assuming that was Others we saw at the beginning of episode one.

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