Jump to content

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

Black Crow

Heresy 12

Recommended Posts

Welcome to version 12 of the Heresy thread; so called because it challenges many of the assumptions made in AGoT about the nature of the elemental conflict between Ice and Fire, and in particular questions whether the Others are the threat we once thought they were, and whether Azor Ahai will be needed to save the day – or most heretical of all whether there is a connection between the Starks and the Others.

Surprisingly it’s a thread which has legs. It began by taking a fresh look at fundamentals such as the timelines, the true purpose of the Wall and where the Watch and the Starks really fit into the story. Over the first eight threads we discussed and discarded a variety of theories, some wilder than others, but retained a core belief that the Wall was not built by men to prevent the return of the Others, but raised by magic for some other purpose, and there’s also a very healthy scepticism that the Starks are the innocent country people they appear. As to the Others we worked through a variety of ideas as to who or what they really are, convinced all the while that the Night’s King is at least part of the key to the mystery. Left to our own devices I dare say we could still be talking round in circles, nor further forward in reality than when we started, but for two surprise events during Heresy 9.

The first came in the TV version where Craster’s son was quite unequivocally collected by one of the Others, decisively ending years of denial that he was handing them over to the Others rather than simply tossing them out into the cold to get rid of them. Not only was it vindication but it suggests that if that bit is true then there’s no reason to doubt the assertion that at least some of the Others are Craster’s sons.

What that means was then answered just as dramatically in an email by GRRM describing to the artist Tommy Patterson how the Others should look:

'The Others are not dead. They are strange, beautiful… think, oh… the Sidhe made of ice, something like that… a different sort of life… inhuman, elegant, dangerous.’

We pride ourselves on this thread as being just a little bit intellectual and being able to spell the word Google, looked up the Sidhe. Its been argued against this connection that GRRM was referring only to their outward appearance, but they were clearly on his mind and resemble the Others so closely that it goes far deeper, as I said in an earlier post; if it looks like a Duck, walks like a Duck, and quacks like a Duck… then it very probably is a Duck, or in this case a Sidhe.

Where this takes us is what this thread’s all about…

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So when i woke this morning, an idea came to me...

Since the Sidhe are not actually dead, but not alive in a sense that we would think of it, could they be the origin of the Ironborn's "what is dead can never die, but rises again, harder and stronger"?

We know that the wights are more agile, and probably stronger, versions of their living selves---definitely pointing to the rises again, harder and stronger, so this could simply be the origin of it.

But what if the Sidhe themselves of the origin? The Sidhe themselves could be a spiritual version of the Children, who have "died" and "risen" again, stronger before-- with it actually being that they found out how to transcend into a higher plain of existence a la the Ancients and the Orai? in the Stargate universe. After they achieved ascendance and stronger powers, they convinced some of the first men to follow them as gods: these men became the Ironborn. This also fits in with the origins of the Drowned God-- if the Sidhe's transcendent form on earth is a kind of mist, then the original ironborn would think of them as living in water, thus being "drowned".

The Starks and their followers (including the CotF) did not view the Sidhe as gods, and so a war was waged over that issue (who started the war is a whole other question of course... i feel that the Starks started the war as a means to get the Ironborn back under their control). The Starks and the CotF, as followers of the "nature" gods instead of the transcendent "water" gods would be seen by the ironborn as worshiping the powers of the storms (and given what some have speculated about the powers of the CotF's magic, storms could have been an important part of it)

From the Starks/CotF worshiping the "nature" gods versus the Ironborn worshiping the "water" gods, we get the origins of the Drowned God vs the Storm God of the Ironborn's mythology. And if we think of the Starks as starting the war as a means to get the Ironborn back under their control, we further see that the Starks were actually kind of assholes.

In summary, "what is dead can never die" comes from an ancient worship of the Sidhe by some first men who eventually became the Ironborn, this worship is the basis for the Drowned God, and it was the loss of control over the ironborn to the Sidhe that caused the Starks to go to war with them.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

No, I'm still of the opinion as set out late in the last thread that there are three quite separate pairings of equal and opposite forces, or which Ice (White Walkers) and Fire (Red Priests) are actively in conflict, while the rest, Earth and Water (Singers and Krakens) stand nervously on the sidelines trying to make sure things don't get out of hand, hence their intervention with Bran on the one hand and Patchface on the other. As to the Bronze and Iron, I suspect that to be the men with the Maesters heavily involved - but whether they realise it yet...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

OK for those coming new to the Heresy threads, we’ll start off with the first of the Heresies; the Wall. Westerosi legend holds that the Wall was raised up by Bran the Builder (with a little help from the Giants) after the Long Night in order to protect the realm from the return of the Others. GRRM has himself said that he made that up in order to provide Westeros with a proper mythology, so lets look at it a little more closely. It is, according to the books, 700 feet high – after seeing the 400 foot high quarry face that doubles for it in the TV version GRRM is again said to have expressed himself and commented that he made it way too high. Nevertheless, whatever its true height it is a truly massive piece of engineering; like nothing else on Earth says Jon at one point, and the point is that it is too massive for men (with or without Giants) to have built and too large to stand without collapsing under its own weight.

But hey, this is an epic fantasy with magic, and sure enough here’s what Mel has to say about it in ADwD Jon:1 –

“Great was the lore that raised it, and great the spells locked beneath its ice. We walk beneath one of the hinges of the world.”

So whose lore, whose spells and why does she describe it as a hinge?

Well lets step back a little. Although there’s a tolerable vagueness about its building there seems to be a general agreement that it wasn't there before the Long Night, so lets turn to Old Nan:

“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…

The interruption means we don’t know what happened next although later Bran remembered how that story ended. “The children will help him,” he blurted, “the children of the forest!”

But how? Giving him a handful of dragonglass or even a magic sword might help him fight off those trailing him, but its not going to win the war or end the Long Night. So what about their magics?

Well magic, according to Mel, built the Wall, but whose?

An important pointed noted by we heretics is that the Wall is built of Ice which seems a curious choice of defence against the Others and the White Cold, but are there clues in the references in Old Nan’s story to the forests, and to the lost cities and kingdoms – and to the Fist of the First Men beyond the Wall?

One of the core heresies therefore is that the Children, the Singers of the Earth, interceded with the Others to create another Pact and that the Wall represents the boundary, the hinge between the realms of Ice and Fire, with the secret tunnel under what’s now the Night Fort being the only communication between.

This has a lot of other implications as well, but as we progress through the heresies, knitting them all together its surprising just how many loose ends can be gathered up.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
No, I'm still of the opinion as set out late in the last thread that there are three quite separate pairings of equal and opposite forces, or which Ice (White Walkers) and Fire (Red Priests) are actively in conflict, while the rest, Earth and Water (Singers and Krakens) stand nervously on the sidelines trying to make sure things don't get out of hand, hence their intervention with Bran on the one hand and Patchface on the other. As to the Bronze and Iron, I suspect that to be the men with the Maesters heavily involved - but whether they realise it yet...

In a quote search section yesterday, I came upon another candidate/possibility for the Bronze angle. The Royce family. Yohn has the rune covered bronze armor that is "thousands of years old," his sons wear armor with similar runes.

And who was in the party in the AGoT prologue, Waymar Royce.

Having said that, I like the idea of maester involvement with the Bronze aspect.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ah not quite.

As I see it Bronze represents the First Men and the old ways, exactly per your Royce family example, and perhaps the Thenns as well.

Iron - "new" technology inimical to magic is where the Maesters come in.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think im up to speed enough now to challenge a small point... The others being the sidhe... Iogic would suggest that if noone knew about the others till after the war of the first men and the CotF then they didnt exist before then. There were presumably a lot of dead first men after the first battle... Those who did their duty and fought with honour would never die but would come back harder and stronger as ghosts.. Or if they broke the rules of the game they would become thralls of these ghosts... The starks could have been moon worshipers and ruled the nightlands and fought alongside these others (who only look like the sidhe and for all we know ser arthur dayne and tywin lannister could now be one of them) and kicked some serious ass during the first round of the game... But it came at a huge cost.. The last hero was not a Stark... He merely sought them out to convince them to send their armies back beyond the curtain of light and keep them out of the realms of men. The Starks agreed ... On the condition that there was always a stark in winterfell and good men defending the wall that they would build to keep the others out.. And the 12 companions of the last hero gaurd the hells for players who broke the rules... Then it would make perfect sense that the starks built the wall using their own magic...? They want to end the game and let mankind live in peace... Thats why torrhen knelt.. Thats why the NW vows are so un-ambitious and why the Starks dont ever seek power. Bran has just been plugged back into the game... Why? Because the pact the starks made with the last hero was broken... And no doubt the amended pact between aegon and torrhen... No good men on the wall... No starks in winterfell... Game on! :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The Bronze Age preceded the Iron Age, so I'm in agreement with the idea that bronze (and stone)=First Men and Iron=Andals and all who came after.

Re: the WW being modeled on the Sidhe, that would seem to tie them closer, in spirit at least, to the Children, who are also nature spirits, but of a different tribe. Or maybe the Children are closer to the Fomorians, as the represent the wilder, more mercurial side of nature (more fiery natured, if you will), while since cold preserves, the WW represent the more unchanging side (the icy side). And the First Men could stand in for the Milesians. Sorry if this has already been discussed/debated.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Have you ever considered the Others as a race that was looking for immortality? They are a "different sort of life" because they should have been dead for hundreds/thousands of years.

Maester Aemon once said: "Fire consumes, but ice preserves.". The Others could have been a normal race until their desire of living forever, just like the COTF Greenseers, but living outside a tree. That's the reason they went all the way north, to the coldest place on Westeros, to preseve their bodies. That's why they take newborn babies, to extract their lives. That's why they collapse at the touch of Obsidian or Fire, because it consumes. But I also theorize that that's was not their prime intention, things got out of control (before the long night, of course).

They are dangerous because they need to kill in order to continue living. This need, however, is their own fault, as I said.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We've considered an awful lot of theories on this, but like I say the Sidhe suggestion, as I'll discuss in more detail once I get the chance to write another of Professor Crow's dissertations actually makes a lot of sense in explaining why we see so little of them. The Children/Singers as we know are very long-lived and consequently have a different perspective on the realms of men - without taking the comparison any further think about the relative life-spans of humans and dogs.

The Others, if the Sidhe, have a different perspective again because according to folklore time is different in Faerie; a common them being someone going into a Sidhe hall for a night and coming out in the morning to find many years have passed. Thus, rather than sleeping under the Ice, while men think of it being 1,000 years since the Others last tooled up, to the Sidhe it was only last week.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

GRRM already exploring this theme with the Children of the Forest / Old Gods, so I doubt that this is the case, unless you want to go back to the theory that the Children are the puppeteers.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The difference is that the Children are here all the time, while the Others only come knocking periodically. As I said on a previous post in an earlier thread although they are part of the Earth - Water pairing, their concern may be the way the Ice - Fire conflict is threatening to destabilise the overall balance.

While the Children, and more particularly through their new agent Bran, are therefore players I don't see them as orchestrating the whole thing.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sorry you right, I scanned thorough the theories and due to a few details assumed you meant something else.

Personally, I dont think that the others come knocking periodically, I think that they were absent from the time of the long night, until recently. I agree that the Others should have a different perspective, considering their existence. Which leads back to the good old question about their motives and the question of their disappearance and what "woke" them up.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I suppose it all depends what you mean by periodically. As Osha remarked they tell things differently north of the Wall...

As we've discussed before they seem relatively familiar with the Others/Sidhe north of the Wal and its still striking how matter-of-factly Mormont refers to White Walkers being seen near Eastwatch - not a good sign but hardly a reason to panic just yet. As outlined above in the piece on the Wall some of us have a shrewd idea that whether by negotiation or otherwise the Wall marks the boundary between the realms of Ice and Fire and that what the Others "conquered" during the Long Night were the kingdoms of the First Men beyond it.

Men, obviously, do live up there - the Thenns and the Wildlings. The Thenns are presumably one of the kingdoms that made it through the Long Night, while the Wildlings are the descendents of broken men - survivors of those kingdoms which didn't.

The point being that that Others have overlordship of the lands beyond the wall and so periodically appear for their own purposes, whether to hunt or to gather children from the likes of Craster.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I hold to the theory that Others have disappeared after the long night and only returned recently.(as I noted in another thread, I doubt that the night king wife was an other). Probably around the time of birth of the prince who is the song of ice and fire that Rhaegar spoke of in Dany vision in the house of the undying.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

BC, thank you for quoting Old Nan's tale. It made me notice something. The scenario she discribes concerning the CotF is a clear post war, post pact scenario. Only a few left, hidden in their hills, lands once taken from them. The quest to find them. This is long after the wars with the CotF, it is even after the golden Age of the Heros, when there was a peacefull coexistence (if this age ever existed).

Here comes anothero e of my trials to establish zhe big picture:

The story sets the Long Night post war, post pact. And that is the main reason, why the LH has hopes to get help. He is about to invoke the old pact.

Now, we one discussed in Heresy three or four, how the Wall might have been an armistice line, like the 38 Parallel. It was argued, that  the Starks were in charge of patrouling that line. The idea of a younger Stark, Lord of Winterfell, betraying his older Brother, King of Winter rooted in this idea.

But while the theory of an armistice patroulled by House Stark has its flaws as long as it concerned the pact between CotF an First Man, it makes a lot of sense, when we assume a second pact. A pact between Bran, the Last Hero and maybe Lord of that little holdfast that was Winterfell back then and the Sidhe/WW and which was mediated by the CotF.

The agreement had certain specifics.

I conceded al the territories north of the line marked by the Wall to the Sidhe. It encopassed certain rituals of child sacrifice to be made at a certain Weirwood door. It may also have specified, that no man or only such man that accept the Sidhe/WW as rulers should settle beyond that line. Bran vouched for this pactet. He took it upon him, that it was fulfilled. So in a way, he did build the Wall. Not the actual ice Wall but he established the border which the Wall then marked. And he held that border, "his" Wall agains anyone who would want to cross it.He also made certain, that the sacrifices were made and that  man would hold true to the pact.

In doing all of this, he became the first King of Winter. Because he not only ruled in the North, but to those in the North it would apear as if he ruled Winter itself.

He left that dismal tower, that was Winterfell and left it to a junior branch of his family, the Starks in Winterfell. He took his seat to the Wall, the demarcatition line he created and promissed to protect. Hence forward, there ruled the Kings of Winter.

Meanwhile the Sidhe/WW retreated to their Fearyland,  and once upon atime some rangers were send out, to see if thing were as the should be.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just thinking of reasons why the Others returned and remembered this convo between Varys and Tyrion...

"he took a long hooked blade, and cut me root and stem... He cooked my manhood on a brazier and i watched as the flames turned BLUE"

"... All i know it that he called, and the voice answered"

"since then i have hated magic, and if Stannis is one such, i mean to see him dead" ...

When dany hatches her dragons instead of selling them, i guess Varys decides that her dying is better... He's an interesting chap... And he keeps on paddling... But could this have anything to do with the Others... Especially when combined with the blue flames in Jaimes vision...?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The story sets the Long Night post war, post pact. And that is the main reason, why the LH has hopes to get help. He is about to invoke the old pact.

Now, we one discussed in Heresy three or four, how the Wall might have been an armistice line, like the 38 Parallel. It was argued, that the Starks were in charge of patrouling that line. The idea of a younger Stark, Lord of Winterfell, betraying his older Brother, King of Winter rooted in this idea.

But while the theory of an armistice patroulled by House Stark has its flaws as long as it concerned the pact between CotF an First Man, it makes a lot of sense, when we assume a second pact. A pact between Bran, the Last Hero and maybe Lord of that little holdfast that was Winterfell back then and the Sidhe/WW and which was mediated by the CotF.

The agreement had certain specifics.

I conceded al the territories north of the line marked by the Wall to the Sidhe. It encopassed certain rituals of child sacrifice to be made at a certain Weirwood door. It may also have specified, that no man or only such man that accept the Sidhe/WW as rulers should settle beyond that line. Bran vouched for this pactet. He took it upon him, that it was fulfilled. So in a way, he did build the Wall. Not the actual ice Wall but he established the border which the Wall then marked. And he held that border, "his" Wall agains anyone who would want to cross it.He also made certain, that the sacrifices were made and that man would hold true to the pact.

In doing all of this, he became the first King of Winter. Because he not only ruled in the North, but to those in the North it would apear as if he ruled Winter itself.

He left that dismal tower, that was Winterfell and left it to a junior branch of his family, the Starks in Winterfell. He took his seat to the Wall, the demarcatition line he created and promissed to protect. Hence forward, there ruled the Kings of Winter.

That's pretty well how I see it, because I really can't see the Last Hero defeating the Others in a battle all by himself. It might also explain the seeming reverence for the Starks even amongst the Free Folk if the Starks were regarded as the protectors of those men living in the realm of Winter beyond the Wall

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

:agree:

And it explains the difference between the King of Winter and the King in the North. The first King in the North was made, when the Stark in Winterfell decided to rebell. He would have needed the support of the smaller Lords and that he would have gained by concessions such as not to be the owner of the land but only the ruler of the people. The King of Winter on the other hand would claim to rule it all, backed by his magical connections to Sidhe and CotF.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

conceded al the territories north of the line marked by the Wall to the Sidhe... It may also have specified, that no man or only such man that accept the Sidhe/WW as rulers should settle beyond that line. Bran vouched for this pactet. He took it upon him, that it was fulfilled.

...

Meanwhile the Sidhe/WW retreated to their Fearyland, and once upon atime some rangers were send out, to see if thing were as the should be.

Why and why the have returned now, if their so called packt was challenged for as long as anyone can remember, why they move in power now? It seems like huge coincidence for this not to be related with some specific event that GRRM brewed.

Just thinking of reasons why the Others returned and remembered this convo between Varys and Tyrion...

"he took a long hooked blade, and cut me root and stem... He cooked my manhood on a brazier and i watched as the flames turned BLUE"

or something related to summerhall, its possible that whatever they did there(probably to raise their dragons) upset the balance of whatever kept the others at bay for thousands of years. Thus leading for the only mention of the term "Song of Icen and Fire" in the whole series.

EDIT: We know that they brought warlocks for that task, maybe this time they used something more extreme, some of Mirri maz durr or Mellesandre arts? who knows maybe your "Sidhe" counterpart origin is the far east...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

×